Side Effects is a thriller about a successful New York couple, Emily (Rooney Mara) and Martin (Channing Tatum) whose life has been challenged after he is thrown in prison for an insider trading charge. Apparently, as we find out, Emily is clinically depressed and is seeking help. One of her psychiatrists (Jude Law) prescribes a drug that has unexpected side effects.
I always get a kick out of drug commercials on prime time television. Companies are not allowed to advertise alcohol and cigarettes, but they are allowed to introduce drugs with strange, unpronounceable names, that treat one thing and cause a dozen side effects. How would you like it if you were no longer experiencing arthritic pain in your joints, as long as you are willing to endure depression, thoughts of suicide, headaches, stomach-aches, vomiting, loss of sexual drive, hair loss and splotchy skin? Oh, yes, sign me up!
Side Effects is a movie about the intrigues of the drug business, but much more. It is also, I am discovering, a thriller with a complex plot and it’s nearly impossible to tell anything about it without introducing spoilers. It is my policy to not introduce spoilers in my movie reviews, so I am not going to tell any more here.
While most reviewers liked this movie, I found it flat-out boring. For the first half, it lumbered around slowly, building the characters and the story. Then it got more complicated, and I realized that I had missed some key points and I was probably lost. It took me walking out of the theater and talking about it to actually get what happened.
Now, that is clearly not the fault of the movie but my own – being slow in grasping complex plots that I am. It’s the kind of movie I think I need to see twice to actually “get.” So be it.
In my book, this is a two star show, but I trust that my readers will mostly disagree with me and side with the reviewers and call it one of the better movies this spring.