Side Effects Movie Review


Celeste Lira

On Friday, Feb. 8, Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects premieres in theaters everywhere and earns $10 million and number three in the box office opening weekend. The psychological thriller, starring Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum, follows Emily Taylor’s life of being prescribed with antidepressants.

Marilyn Ramirez, Copy Editor/Co-Editor-in-Chief

The provocative thriller Side Effects, released on Feb. 8, has captivated audiences as one of the first great films of the year although only bringing in $9.3 million in the box office its first weekend. Main actors Channing Tatum (Martin Taylor), Rooney Mara (Emily Taylor), Jude Law (Dr. Johnathan Banks), and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Dr. Victoria Siebert) move through the movie to create a storyline with a plot within a plot within a plot.


Producer Steven Soderbergh opens the film with Emily Taylor who should be delighted as she awaits the return of her husband Martin from prison after four years. However, her constant solemn face with sunken eyes proves otherwise as she attempts to kill herself by driving full speed into a wall. Mara truly captured the typical vision of someone who is depressed, moving through the motions of her daily life. It was after the suicide attempt that she meets Dr. Banks who, because of the pleas of his new patient, releases her once she promises to see him throughout the week.


There was no sign of hope in the series of antidepressants Emily took afterward, so Dr. Banks looked to her former psychiatrist Dr. Siebert for help. Zeta-Jones, although fairly new to the thriller movie scene, played a model psychiatrist as well as an elusive lover. Siebert advised he prescribe Ablixa, a very new medication, that he was unsure of handling at first until Emily tried to kill herself again. Zeta-Jones, although fairly new to the thriller movie scene, played a model psychiatrist as well as an elusive lover.


All seems well with the new medication. Emily has a newfound sense of  hope, she can enjoy the time spent with her husband, and her physical appearance improves. One night she is found cooking and playing loud music at three in the morning; to the couple’s dismay, one side effect appears to be sleepwalking. Dr. Banks monitors her and feels it’s under control until Emily murders one of the movie’s main characters.


This is the first pinnacle action in the movie, leading to the abolishment of Dr. Banks reputation and possible jail time for Emily. An insanity plea results in her stay at a mental institute until Dr. Banks deems her healthy.


Because of his blackened reputation, Dr. Banks is removed from the trial group but not before being told of the substantial amount of insurance received for Ablixa. His suspicions of Emily heighten after digging through the files of her suicide attempt where he finds her depressed persona could be an entire act.


The remainder of the film is the battle between Emily, Dr. Banks, and Dr. Siebert as the truth is sought to give Dr. Banks his life back. Audiences discover the diabolical link between Emily and Dr. Siebert, the truth behind the murder, and the plan Dr. Banks concocts to account the female associates responsible.