Opening in theatres this Friday from director Steven Soderbergh, Di Bonaventure Pictures and Open Road Films comes the truth about the SIDE EFFECTS.

This film tells the story of Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara), a young wife who is waiting for husband Martin (Channing Tatum) to get out of prison for securities fraud. Stressed from a change in lifestyle and working hard Emily seeks professional help from Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law).

Looking for the right medication for Emily, Dr. Banks also tries to uncover the root of her problems by visiting a prior physician Dr. Erica Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones). As Emily becomes more anxiety ridden, Martin wonders if there is anything that can help his wife.

When the medication has serious side effects Emily’s life turns upside down. She isn’t the only person this affects, as Dr. Banks must go back to the beginning to find out what went horribly wrong.

FINAL WORD: Mara as Emily wastes no time in delving into the role. She is an actress who seems to slip through the Hollywood cracks when it comes to being noticed. Yes, GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO wasn’t the best idea but Mara has, since then, chosen some stand out performances. Here she is gritty and absolutely stunning in this role.

Law as Dr. Banks gets a chance to get dirty in this role and I enjoyed it. In his last few films he has taken second fiddle but in SIDE EFFECTS it’s a chance to see what a talent Law is. Cheering for his character was something I’m proud to have done.

Zeta-Jones as Dr. Siebert is also a chance for this actress to get a lot dirty! Zeta-Jones can play a soft role sure enough but it’s the roles you don’t expect that I enjoy her work the most.

Tatum has a smaller role in the film but it couldn’t be done without him playing husband Martin. There are several scenes where the audience reacts and that’s when you know everyone is being drawn into the story and start to have an opinion on it all.

I spoke with Dr. Sasha Bardley who served at Technical Adviser for the film. I asked what it was like to work with this amazing cast. “It was amazing to work with such a talented group of people. Each were truly interested in making their characters as believable as possible.” We discussed what brought him onto the project. “I have known Scott (writer of SIDE EFFECTS) for many years. In looking for his next project knowing I was a physician at Bellevue he would ask questions about what is possible and not possible and the story grew”.

What was his involvement in the film? Dr. Bardley says, “I was asked to be the technical adviser to talk about characters and set designs. Everything was meticulously documented even down to photographing my office to make sure everything was as it should be”.

We did get into the discussion of the pharmacological side that the film brings up dealing with doctors and pharmaceutical companies. “I believe the film did a really good job in bringing that to the forefront. There was a time these company’s would give doctors trips and such. Things have changed and doctors are held more accountable now and that’s an important point the film points out”.

Everyone has seen the ads on television talking about medications and what they are suppose to be able to provide patients. “Yes, the ads are everywhere. People now are able to understand more about those medications and its good to be informed. It use to be that pharmaceutical company’s dealt directly with doctors. Now they are reaching out to the general public basically telling them ‘ask your doctor for this’ medication”.

Back to the actors, Jude Law’s character as a psychiatrist, I asked about his performance in SIDE EFFECTS. “I believe this is his best role to date. He really got into every nuance of the character and watching that character go into such depths just adds so much to the film.” And working with Channing Tatum: “His role is the catalyst for everything that happens in the film”.

I had to ask about Zeta-Jones’s role as Dr. Siebert: “It is difficult to watch a good doctor succumb to situations they otherwise wouldn’t. Sometimes the pathology of a patient is so strong that the consequences are severe.”

Finally, the performance of Rooney Mara: “I have to tell you, showing this film to other psychiatrists they will tell you she nailed this performance. The characteristics of a person with depression are all there as well as the responses to treatment. It was amazing the performance she brings to the story”.

This isn’t the first time writer Scott Z. Burns and director Steven Soderbergh have worked together. Previously their collaborations included CONTAGION and THE INFORMANT!

Other cast include: David Costabile as Carl Millbank, Polly Draper as Eileen Spicer, Andrea Bogart as Tracey Sutton, Mamie Gummer and Vinessa Shaw.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give SIDE EFFECTS four tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a fantastic film with a stellar cast who have no problems making the audience crazy! The story follows along and, without telling anything to ruin the film, will wake you up quickly. The cinematography added to the film but it is this cast of marvelous actors who make the entire film worth spending money to see.

What a fantastic way to start the year with a film that no one is expecting at a time when junk is being thrown from every which a way into theatres. It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised. This is a film I can’t wait for others to see so there can be a discussion.

This is supposed to be director Soderbergh’s final film and, if true, he is going out with a bang! I’m so disappointed this wasn’t released in November to be part of the awards season.

In the end – everything has side effect!

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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.

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