The Grade Book: “Side Effects”

Side Effects

Plot: After her husband is released from prison, a woman begins taking pills for her depression — which have some serious side effects. 

Director: Steven Soderbergh.

Writer: Scott Z. Burns.

Cast: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum.

Genres: Drama, Thriller, Crime.

Running Time: 1 hour and 46 minutes.

MPAA Rating: R.




SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: Side Effects is a strong final film from Steven Soderbergh, complete with  great acting and a script that will keep you guessing.



  • Tyler Christian:

Grade: B+

A terrific final foray for Steven Soderbergh in making feature films. Great performances and writing make this low-key suspense drama one to remember for a long time this year. I know you’ll be going into retirement soon, Mr. Soderbergh, but I do wish for you to make another film like this.

  • Ryan Fecskovics:

Grade: B+

Rooney Mara gives another fantastic performance in this thriller that really impressed me. Steven Soderbergh’s last theatrical release (hopefully not his last) really did a good job at telling a story that isn’t told often. Jude Law also does a good job. The movie lags during the middle, but besides that I was mesmerized. Easily one of the best movies of the year so far. I’d recommend it to anyone.

  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):


Grade: B

It had great direction and acting and I was invested the entire time but when the answers started to come to my questions, I was not fully satisfied with the outcome and it kind of took me out of the total experience.

  • James Michael Holtz (WeWatchedAMovie):

Grade: C+

Doesn’t feel as clean as a typical Soderbergh film and becomes boring at times. However, Side effects does feature outstanding acting by Jude Law and Rooney Mara, as well as a few well thought out plot twists, which is a rarity.

  • Steven Hunt:

Grade: A-

If this is Steven Soderbergh’s final movie, he is going out on a high note. Every performance in the movie is great, especially Jude Law’s. The movie blends courtroom drama with thriller elements and even a little horror — and it does it perfectly. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and the twists had me guessing. Highly recommended.

  • Nick Iacobucci:

Grade: B+

Side Effects is a high quality medical thriller that is one of the bigger surprises of the last few months. Soderbergh has crafted a much better than average feature, and Law, Mara, Jones, and Tatum all contribute to this worthy time at the movies.

  • John Maffeo:

Grade: B+

Side Effects is an effective suspense thriller that takes a simple subject and expands it with possibilities that occur in reality continuously. The performances are fantastic, the cinematography is obscurely intriguing, and the plot is hauntingly mysterious. If you’re prescribed for drugs or you visit the pharmacy often…this film may scare you. Seriously!

  • Scott Menzel:

Grade: A-

It could simply be the lack of solid entertainment to grace the silver screen in 2013, but I honestly feel that Side Effects was a really good film with amazing performances and an intelligent story to boot. Rooney Mara and Jude Law really bring their A-game and give amazing performances. The story has multiple layers, which keeps the audience on their toes and builds the suspense. While some might label this film to be slow at spots, I never felt that because I was too engrossed with the story. At the second week of February 2013, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best mainstream release of 2013 so far.

  • Daniel Rester:

Grade: B+

Steven Soderbergh’s (supposedly) final feature film has him going out on a high note. Side Effects has some slow moments and the second half becomes a bit foggy when it starts to present its answers. However, the movie has an interesting look (with muted colors and terrific cinematography), strong writing, great direction, and dynamite acting. If you are a Soderbergh fan, don’t miss this.

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