A Closer Look at “Side Effects”

So, I saw Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects” over the weekend to review it, and OH MY GOD. I have to rant somewhere, and I can’t exactly do it in my review.

Loads of spoilers below, okay? Loads.

I have seen a lot of sexist bullshit on the silver screen over the years, but I think “Side Effects” may take the cake. Let’s take a moment to look at the major characters, shall we?

Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law): psychiatrist. Treats Emily for depression. In the past, was framed by a schizophrenic patient so that everyone thought she killed herself over an affair with him (bitches be crazy! also liars!). When Emily murders her husband under the influence of a med he prescribed, his career is immediately headed into the toilet. Woe.

Emily (Rooney Mara): patient. Depressed. Murders her husband while sleepwalking. Is horrified, woe, etc etc. However, it’s eventually revealed that she wasn’t under the influence of the med at all, she teamed up with Dr. Siebert! It was all a plot to make money by shorting stock in the company making the drug she was on! Bwah hahahaha! Bitches be evil, amirite?

Martin (Channing Tatum): Emily’s husband. Jailed for insider trading but otherwise a fairly nice guy? He gets killed off before we get to know him very well, but he seems to genuinely care about her and want her to be happy. They don’t communicate well, but he doesn’t show any signs of actively being awful. Then she kills him, because bitches be crazy. Also evil.

Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones): psychiatrist. Gets Banks to prescribe the problem med to Emily. Is in cahoots with Emily — and also having an affair with her! Whoa! Those bisexual bitches be evil, amirite? When Banks’ digging starts getting too close to the truth, she sends photos that make it look like he was having an affair with Emily to his wife, causing her to leave him.

Dierdre Banks (Vinessa Shaw): wife of Dr. Banks. Unemployed and weepy about it. Believes the photos rather than her husband and leaves him immediately, without giving him a chance to explain. Once the “happy ending” happens, takes him right back, no issues. She’s proven wrong and put in her place, by god. The shot we get that proves this, the only shot that shows her being back with Banks, is the two of them picking her kid up from school. How domestic.

Not good, nu? All the women are either crazy or evil or both, except for Dierdre, who’s more or less useless and manipulated.

What really kills me is the way the film wraps up the plot. The villains (Emily and Victoria) get their comeuppance — Victoria goes to jail and Emily winds up committed to a mental institution thanks to Banks’ ability to lie like a cheap rug about her symptoms and behavior.

That’s right. He literally gets her locked up permanently and forcibly medicated, all by lying! And this is our hero! Making a happy ending!


I do not understand at all how I’m the only one I see online jumping up and down screaming about the sexism in this film. It made me so angry that I was in physical pain by the end of the film. Just… no.



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