After having spent a day packing my life into cardboard boxes – I’m moving house – I needed to relax. Although this, one of Soderberg’s most recent and last films, is not exactly relaxing. The fact he is leaving film making to focus on TV is a real blow – Side Effects shows a director who isn’t afraid to take risks, and challenge his audience.
First point: this is a disturbing film. Its disturbing in its portrayal of psychiatrity and mental illness, and also in its swipe at the pharma industry.
Second point: its very, very good.
Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is a troubled young woman. About to welcome her husband home after four years of jail, she is desperate for help to ease her depression, which she eloquently describes as a “poisonous fog” enveloping her every afternoon. After a failed suicide attempt, she meets the suave psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), and begins treatment. But her newly returned husband (Channing Tatum) is noticing some disturbing side effects of the new wonder drug. And then it all swings on a shocking twist…