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Side Effects

Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones | R |

THRILLER

Surely there’s a pill we can give Steven Soderbergh to make him want to keep directing movies. It’s true: The Oscar winner behind Traffic, Out of Sight and the Oceans romps says this is his last feature film. That’s the bad news. The good news is that faced with the choice to go big or go home, Soderbergh opted to do both. Side Effects is a clever, deeply satisfying corkscrew of a thriller about the lure of pharmaceuticals that offer a pain-free life-just before they hit you with a litany of possible adverse reactions from dry mouth to incontinence … or worse.

Here’s what worse looks like: Emily Taylor (Mara), whose husband (Tatum) just got out of prison, is deeply depressed. Her doctor Jonathan Banks (Law) puts her on a new drug that elevates her mood but makes her start sleepwalking. Then Emily does something terrible-and Side Effects turns on its axis. Suddenly the intimate close-ups are no longer of Mara, in her excellent foray into mental illness, but of Law, riveting as a man fighting to save his reputation, or what’s left of it. Zeta-Jones also thrives as Emily’s last therapist, one with her own agenda. To say one more word would be to commit an act of spoiler treason, so I’ll tell you what: I’m going to shut up now, and you’re going to go see Side Effects.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO ALYNDA: alyndasreviews@peoplemag.com