Side Effects (2013)


Decent, somewhat silly film that’s entertaining and all but not nearly as intelligent or clever as it would like its audience to think it is. The acting is also kind of all over the place: not bad, necessarily, just odd at times, especially from Jude Law who is terrible in the first half and inexplicably much, much better in the second. I’ve never seen an actor’s performance make such a dramatic improvement over the course of a film as he does here. Like two almost completely different people. And yeah it’s shot and edited and directed well for the most part, but the writing could have been better.

The film’s plot, though twisty and interesting, is also one of the film’s biggest problems. It’s one of those plots you don’t really question until the credits start to roll and reality sets in and the logic of the thing starts to fall apart under simple scrutiny. I wasn’t even trying to find holes in the thing, really, they just kind of  came to me, as they will you I imagine given how ridiculous some aspects of it are. But, again, it’s entertaining for the most part, and I also enjoy director Steven Soderbergh’s tendency to play with **SPOILERS** perspective and narrative in his films like he does here with the main character of the piece shifting at about the half way point. **END SPOILERS** Certainly unique and effective, even if it’s a bit clumsily handled. And Jude Law’s terrible, terrible performance in the first half didn’t make things better by any means. Granted his character/dialogue isn’t all that well written, but I have a feeling a better actor could have handled it a little more skillfully. But the performances in this film are all weird for the most part, even from Rooney Mara who is absolutely gorgeous here with that beautiful face of hers. And that indifferent, emotionless voice. God, so sexy!

Overall, choppy film with a questionable script that still works thanks to some strong direction/editing/pacing/cinematography. It’s entertaining and unpredictable and will keep you engaged for the most part, even if it feels like two different movies taped together in the middle at times. I ultimately wasn’t sure what the message of the thing was, exactly: the first half seemed to have a rather strong **SPOILERS** anti medication type slant to it, with all the browbeating of antidepressants and those who take them and all that, while the second seems to drop all that in favor of, what exactly? Anti-corporate espionage? Anti-pretending to kill your husband and blaming it on a pharmaceutical company to get money? **END SPOILERS** Not sure. And man were the **SPOILERS** lesbian scenes in this movie uncomfortable. **END SPOILERS** I’m not sure if it was intentional, but I felt like I was going to throw up at times watching them. There’s just something vile about them, not quite sure how to put my finger on it.

Anyway, not terrible, but nothing to write home about. Better than average, and at least it tries something new, even if it doesn’t quite succeed. Still worth watching, I’d say.


  1. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    • Hey, thank you. I’m always up for suggestions. What would you recommend in the way of additional content?

      Thanks again!

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