“Side Effects” stars Rooney Mara as a woman who tries a new anti-depression drug with tragic results. It’s the latest from director Steven Soderbergh, who insists that he’s retiring & this is his last film. He has had a great deal to say lately about the medical industry, after 2011’s “Contagion.”
This time the story focuses on Emily, played by Rooney Mara, who is suffering from extreme depression and appears suicidal. Her doctor, Jude Law in a Good-Guy role this time, starts her on a range of antidepressants. An apparent side-effect leads to murder and that leads to questions of who is ultimately responsible.
“Side Effects” starts off asking big questions about mental illness and our reliance on pharmaceuticals but it ends up being just a story. An interesting story that offers multiple surprises, but it steps away from the original line of thought, which disappointed me.
There are some great performances. It’s good to see Rooney Mara out of her “Dragon Tattoo” piercings and her dull-eyed depiction of depression is spot-on. Catherine Zeta-Jones slides gracefully from good-guy to bad-guy while once again proving that she’s still CRAZY sexy.
“Side Effects” pulls you in & ultimately entertains so I’m giving it a B, but I wish it would have continued with the original commentary. After all, it IS time to talk about mental illness and especially where the responsibility lies when the treatment or lack thereof, turns deadly.