Side Effects Review (2013)
Category: Thriller / Drama
Actors: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Duration: 107 min
You might like this movie if you enjoyed:
Extreme Measures (1996), Limitless (2011)
The story in two sentences: After her husband gets released out of Jail a young woman seeks help at a local psychiatrist to get her depressions treated; despite weird side effects he lets her continue taking the anitdepressant he described her. The results are tragic.
Storyline: Emily (Rooney Mara) is a 28-year old woman suffering from depressions. When her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) gets released out of jail after four years she seems rather overwhelmed and exhausted than happy. Eventually she drives her car against a wall in a parking garage. In the hospital she meets psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) who agrees to see her in his office instead of suggesting to keep her in the hospital. As per agreement Emily attends her sessions ragularly and tries many anti-depressants but none of them seem to work, as they are either supressing her sex drive, make her vomit or feel miserable. Dr. Banks decides to meet Emily’s previous psychiatrist Dr. Siebtert (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who advices him to prescribe her a drug called Ablixa. After she starts taking Ablixa her mood changes rapidly, her sex drive is higher than ever – lucky husband – and she feels good about herself. But she starts sleep walking. When Dr. Banks thinks about changing her medication again Emily refuses and says she rather starts all over again with a new psychiatrist. Worriying about losing money, Banks ads another drug to her treatment that should help her sleep. Martin comes home from work and catches his wife sleepwalking again – this time she is cutting vegetables. When he tries to wake her up she stabs him several times, watches him crawl on the floor and then goes to sleep. The next morning she can’t remember anything and is taken away by the police. Her psychiatrist wants to help her but if he admits that he kept her on the same drug even though she told him that she was sleep walking it could cause the end of his career. So what is Dr. Banks going to do? Is Emily still hallucinating? What is real and what is not? Or does Dr. Siebert has something to do with it? And why are Dr. Banks colleagues refusing to help him?
Review: Side Effects is one of these movies that starts off confusing, continues slow and ends with a boom. I liked the concept, it made me want to see more, and even if it was slow at some points it kept my attention and I was glad I stuck with it until the very twisty end. I have been waiting for a movie that would suprise me at the end and Side Effect did just that. The actors were brilliant, Jude Law played a struggling psychiatrist who is trying to get his son through private school. He actually seems like the psychiatrist I would like to have if I was in need for one. At some point he is being paid to convince his patients to switch into a new drug that isn’t on the market yet, because the company needs guinea pigs, but he is not forceful; he tells them the truth and lets them decide, and that’s a good doctor in my oppinion. But is he maybe a little too gullible or too human for this job? Rooney Mara did a very believable performance as well, I actually struggled with her through some scenes, hoping she would be able to win the fight against her depressions. To play a tough and cold career woman they made the right choice by picking Catherine Zeta-Jones.
And let’s face it: Channing Tatum is not the most brilliant actor but he looks good and seems right and believable for almost every role, unless he would be a villain.
The movie also shows us how careless doctors prescribe patients any medication, and how easy is to get a perscription for anti depressants by simply filling out a questionaire – only in America. Patients basically just have to ask for it. And no one really sees the risk of getting addicted to taking pills. When Dr. Banks’ wife feels bad about taking a pill to “survive” her job interview he says, “Everyone takes them. It doesn’t make you anything you are not, it just makes it easier for you to be who you are.” In another scene he asks one of his colleagues to give him a few Adderal so he can focus better. And all of Emily’s friends seem to take anti depressants, too. It is scary how people rely on pills instead of their natural endorphines. I think in today’s society “depression” became an easy excuse to get out of difficult situations.
Side Effects is a smooth and intelligent thriller like it hasn’t been out in a while. It has an interesting plot that addresses serious issues, and slowly picks up until the end with the big twist.
My rating: 8/10
Images sourced from: http://www.imdb.com