SIDE EFFECTS (2013) Reviews and overview



Side Effects is a 2013 American psychological thriller-neo-noir film directed by Steven Soderbergh (Unsane) from a screenplay written by Scott Z. Burns. The film stars Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum. Soderbergh has claimed it will be his last feature film.


Side Effects was released in the United States on February 8th, 2013 and was released in the UK release on March 8th, 2013.

Steven Soderbergh considered casting Lindsay Lohan for the role of Emily and he auditioned her three times. However, producers felt that her ongoing legal issues would disrupt the production process. Rooney Mara was eventually cast for the part.


Emily Taylor, despite being reunited with her husband from prison, becomes severely depressed with panic attacks and suicide attempts. Her psychiatrist, Jonathan Banks, after conferring with her previous doctor, eventually prescribes an experimental new medication called Ablixa.

The plot thickens when the side effects of the drug lead to Emily killing her husband in a “sleepwalking” state. With Emily plea-bargained into mental hospital confinement and Doctor Banks’ practice crumbling around him, the case seems closed. However, Doctor Banks cannot accept full responsibility and investigates to clear his name.

What follows is a dark quest that threatens to tear what’s left of his life apart even as he discovers the diabolical truth behind the tragedy…

jude law side effects


“A moody, neo-noir-style psychological drama with thick, intertwined veins of tragedy, romantic obsession, legal  consequence and revenge, the film unfolds against a compelling backdrop, and in captivating fashion.” Brent Simon,

“It looks and feels like greatness in parts but when you’re left with the whole you discover a pretty disjointed and poorly structured film. Perhaps an edit strengthening the mystery and lessening the resolution would have sufficed. The questions the film asks are either abandoned or answered all too easily up front.” Tim Kelly, CHUD


Side Effects is brilliant: a noir psychological thriller – like a 21st-century Marnie, or Rosemary’s Baby – that is also an acid satire on big pharma, the mental health profession and its terrifyingly powerful, priestly caste of doctors. There is a compelling lead performance from Rooney Mara who lays down the law with her presence.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Posted by Will Holland

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