Side Effects was previously titled The Bitter Pill, which is a more apt title for it. The majority of the movie is very slow, but then multiple twists and turns in the last third make the end of the film a complete 180 from what it started out as.
Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) was only married to Martin (Channing Tatum) for one year before he went to jail for insider trading. That was four years ago, and he’s finally getting out of jail. Emily has been taking pills for depression on and off, and after she rams her car into a wall in a parking garage, she sees Dr. Banks (Jude Law), who prescribes her some pills. Eventually he prescribes her a new pill that has sleepwalking as a side effect, and Emily starts to sleepwalk. One night, she commits a crime while sleepwalking, and the court has to decide whether she did the crime (yes) but whether she can actually be charged for it or not, since she wasn’t technically aware of what she was doing while she was doing it.
Everyone is great in this movie, but Rooney Mara (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) is outstanding. Her character is definitely not the depressed, sullen person that she leads us to believe at the beginning of the film, and the personality changes she undergoes are actually a bit scary. Jude Law is also good here, and so is Catherine Zeta-Jones, as one of Emily’s previous therapists who gives info about her to her new therapist (Law).
Yes, see this film. The ending is a little confusing but definitely redeems the movie for its slowness throughout, and there were so many twists that they were hard to keep track of. The trailer is a little misleading for Side Effects, in that it looks like Emily (Mara) will be addicted to pills or something, but that’s not what actually happens in the movie. Steven Soderbergh has managed to assemble an all-star cast here (Mara, Tatum, Law, and Zeta-Jones, among others), and they redeem the film from its slow plot, Mara in particular.
Side Effects is currently in theaters, and is rated R with a runtime of 106 minutes.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.