Box art for Side Effects

Side Effects

drama, thrillers

Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones star in Steven Soderberghs psychological thriller about an experimental drug that has chilling and deadly side effects.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Thriller's twisty plot overshadows thought-provoking themes.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects is a twisty thriller centered on psychiatry and antidepressants. There's murder (by stabbing) and blood, as well as some argumentative, aggressive scenes in hospitals. The main character appears topless and mostly naked and participates in more than one strongly suggestive sex scene with her husband; there are also sensual scenes between two female characters. Language is strong but not constant and includes a few uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Drugs are perhaps the movie's main issue, with the main characters taking many different types of prescriptions and reacting in various ways. The movie never really seems to endorse or condemn these drugs, leaving it up to the viewer to decide. Older teens may find the questions the movie raises interesting, and it may open up important discussions with their parents.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how Side Effects depicts prescription drugs. Does it make antidepressants and other medications look appealing? Do the consequences seem realistic?
  • What is the movie saying about turning to medication as a solution for problems? How much work does the main character put into getting better, and how much of it is the responsibility of the pills?
  • Talk about the major violent scene. How necessary was it to the story? Does it add or take away from the movie's themes?
  • Which of these characters (if any) did you end up rooting for? Are any of them role models?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Side Effects reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Like a gel cap in a sip of orange juice, the psycho-pharmacological thriller Side Effects goes down easily, even if its long-term impact turns out to be barely discernible.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fresh: As a thriller in the Hitchcock mould, 'Side Effects' is great fun: its characters are well acted without being entirely likeable, which makes their jeopardy all the more enjoyable while putting us at a clinical remove.

- Ben Walters, Time Out, Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fresh: A crafty teaser that presents itself as one kind of film before gradually evolving into another kind altogether. I, for one, enjoyed both enormously.

- Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, Monday, February 11, 2013

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Steven Soderbergh movies have always been hit and miss with me. But with this and his last 2 movies("Behind the Candlabra" and "Magic Mike") he's on a very good run. "Side Effects" is a very good thriller where the less you know the better. Emily and Martin(Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum) are a reuniting couple as Martin gets out of jail. Once out, her anxiety attacks start again and she meets psychiatrist(Jude Law) who wants to start her on a new drug that has some interesting Side Effects. The cast is great, with each giving terrific performances. Law is especially good, doing his best work in years. I will say, this may not be for everyone. It is a little slow, and the story doesn't unfold like most would expect. But it's still very good and very much worth a watch.

- fb100000145236770, Wednesday, June 5, 2013

3 stars

Disappointing to a fault, "Side Effects" is not quite up to the standards set by Soderbergh's best films, but it is a very solid one that takes you by surprise in the first act, but let's down and becomes a little predictable until the end, making for a sloppily structured picture. The most interesting things happen during the build up and suspense in the beginning, which in turn, I believe, gave the filmmakers a little too much confidence in making this a masterpiece. Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara are terrific together, and Mara continues to display her terrific acting talent. Steven Soderbergh's vision is always out there and kind of pokes fun at critics in the way the film looks, which is a tad distracting. "Side Effects" is well shot, well edited and well directed, but it get's boring as the film goes on. Overall, it was a good film.

- fb733768972, Friday, August 2, 2013

4 stars

Impeccable, masterful, formulated thriller directing from Soderbergh yet again.

- fb1710827246, Monday, July 22, 2013