Thriller Leaves Audiences with Mixed Side Effects?

Valentine’s Day is literally right around the corner moviegoers, and “Side Effects” is a definite must-see to put a little spice in the night.  The wildly- twisting thriller hit theaters last Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, starring Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  Unfortunately, the blizzard on the East Coast hurt the box office, which was cut by 10 percent. During its opening weekend, “Side Effects” came in third with $10 million according to studio estimates since Friday. (Spoiler Alert- Minor plot points provided)

Director Steven Soderbergh’s psychological thriller takes his audience through the lives of young New Yorkers, Emily (Mara,), who is suffering from depression, while awaiting her husband Martin’s (Tatum) return from prison. After Martin’s arrival, Emily still seems to be having difficulty with her depression and seeks help with a new shrink, Dr. Banks (Law).

Under “pushy” Dr. Banks’ care, Emily is prescribed Zoloft along with many other concoctions of antidepressants and serotonin stimulators to help her nervous behavior. At the same time, the sharp-edged doctor has an alternate motive that will land him in a pot of gold by getting patients to try new drugs. Suddenly, all fingers point to Dr. Banks after Emily’s “side effects” lead her to stab someone, but claims to be a victim of his treatment.

 In an instant, everything is taken away from Dr. Banks as he tries to make sense out of Emily’s ironic actions. He finds himself digging for answers about Emily’s previous mental instabilities by contacting her old psychiatrist, Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones).  As the plot unfolds Dr. Banks feels that something isn’t right and his suspicions start to grow, as audiences grab the edge of their seats.

“Side Effects” is said to be one of director Steven Soderbergh’s last film before he retires. He is an editor, screenwriter, and an Academy Award-winning film director. Best known for directing critically acclaimed films such as, “Out of Sight”, “Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic”, his most recent works include “Contagion”, “Haywire” and “Magic Mike”.

Overall, the film received mixed reviews and there were moviegoers who weren’t satisfied. Decario Tidwell, GTCC student, action and thriller movie-lover said, “The movie wasn’t bad, but it lacked the chill of a thriller and was very slow to reach the climax of the plot.” It seems like the film didn’t give everyone “positive” “Side Effects”, but this movie definitely deserves a B+.

  • Ashley Jacobs