Movie Reviews

'Side Effects:' This Thriller Is 'Deliciously Complex'

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The movie stars Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum. Our critic reviews Side Effects, which director Steven Soderbergh says might be his last.


The director Steven Soderbergh made his name in 1989 with his film "Sex, Lies and Videotape." Since then he's had commercial hits like "Oceans 11" and some really strange flops, like "Bubble." Soderbergh has said that his latest film might be his last.

Kenneth Turan has this review of that new movie "Side Effects."

KENNETH TURAN: The less said about "Side Effects," the better. There's nothing wrong with it, quite the contrary, but it's got a deliciously complex plot that works best in an information blackout.

Central character Emily Taylor is played very effectively by Rooney Mara. Emily's husband is about to be released from prison after a four-year sentence for insider trading. That triggers a devastating depression in Emily, like a poisonous fog bank rolling in. She attempts suicide, which leads her to a friendly, understanding psychiatrist played by Jude Law.


ROONEY MARA: (as Emily Taylor) Dr. Banks, I really need to talk to you

JUDE LAW: (as Dr. Jonathan Banks) Emily. Yeah, I just got your message. I'm with my wife.

MARA: (as Emily Taylor) I went to your office but you weren't there so I came here, and, can we just go talk?

LAW: (as Dr. Jonathan Banks) If it's an emergency I can admit you.

TURAN: The psychiatrist puts Emily on the latest anti-depressant available in consultation with her previous doctor, played by Catherine Zeta Jones


CATHERINE ZETA JONES: (as Dr. Victoria Siebert) I'm glad she's seeing a man this time. I think that will help.

LAW: (as Dr. Jonathan Banks) Why is that?

JONES: (as Dr. Victoria Siebert) Never felt seen by her father, and her husband ends up in jail and she's abandoned again.

LAW: (as Dr. Jonathan Banks) Hmm.

JONES: (as Dr. Victoria Siebert) And I'll be happy to see her have a different kind of experience.

TURAN: First, all is going well. But then, in the blink of an eye, it isn't, and all hell breaks loose. It would ruin the fun to detail exactly what kind of hell, but it does make everyone wish the drug had never entered their lives. "Side Effects" is undeniably far-fetched, but it's made with so much cinematic skill it makes implausibility irrelevant. If this does prove to be Soderbergh's final film, he picked a heck of a one to go out on.

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan who reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from