Review – Side Effects

A young woman’s life unraveled when the drugs she is taking have adverse side effects.

Despite being reunited with her husband after he is released from prison, Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) becomes severely depressed with emotional episodes and suicide attempts. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), after consulting Emily’s previous doctor, Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones), eventually starts her on a course of the experimental new drug Ablixa. All seems well until Emily experiences one of the more extreme side effects of the drug. Whilst in a ‘sleepwalking’ state one night, she unconsciously kills her husband, Martin (Channing Tatum). With Emily plea-bargained into the confinement of a mental hospital, and Dr. Banks’ practise virtually on its knees due to the bad publicity he received because of the case, matters are apparently solved. However, he refuses to accept responsibility for what happened and starts digging to clear his name. What he discovers threatens to tear the remainder of his life apart as the diabolical truth of the tragedy is revealed.

Side Effects was a film that I thoroughly enjoyed, and one that I would highly recommend to anyone. It was one I thought I’d keep an eye out for after seeing the trailer on a DVD of mine and being rather impressed by it, however, with my form of late, I half expected to be let down by it. You’ll be pleased to hear that it was, in fact, as good as I’d hoped and perhaps even more so.

So, I’ll start with the lead. Rooney Mara was absolutely terrific as the troubled Mrs. Taylor. Not for one second did I suspect her case to be anything more than it appeared to be on the surface. Well, I say that – what I mean is I certainly didn’t see the full extent of what was to come. Mara played an absolute blinder as her character and as the film went on, it became increasingly difficult to know where exactly it was that you stood with her. At the end, I was on edge as it was revealed that instead of a depressive, we actually had a major psycho on our hands, and by now I’m sure you all know how much I love one of those.

One person who made me slightly doubt how good this film would turn out was Catherine Zeta-Jones. She hasn’t been at her best during recent years and so I partly wondered whether this was just one of those films to pay the rent as opposed to one that had been taken as a smart career move. Thankfully, it appears from where I’m standing that there was a fair amount of the latter involved. Her role certainly wasn’t the largest, but it was crucial to the storyline, and again, I think it worked so well as I, for one, didn’t in a million years see her character of Victoria Siebert being such a huge game player. Zeta-Jones was brilliant to watch, and if this is what we can come to expect of her performances now, I shall certainly be keeping look-out for her. 

Side Effects’ storyline was one of the best things about the film besides the acting. There more twists and turns in it than the spaghetti junction in Birmingham. You couldn’t for one minute predict what was going to happen next, and when what was coming arrived, you couldn’t help but be amazed at how wonderfully smooth the story had transitioned.

Overall, Side Effects is a very good film, and one that I don’t think anyone expected to turn out as well as it did. Who’d have thought that a film which had a plot that centred around the politics of the pharmaceutical drugs world could be so riveting?

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Kira Comerford

Film and TV lover with hopes to one day make my own projects for everyone to enjoy. Until then, I'm giving my thoughts on what I watch for inspiration.

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