Side Effects is a film that encapsulates the present-day world's increasing reliance on the pharmaceutical industry. It is a satirical indictment of the prescription drug culture that has permeated the past few decades and provides a warning to those who are allured by the promised benefits of such medicines. And it poses a serious question: Do psychotropic drugs do more harm than good?
The plot of Side Effects centers around a fictional drug called Ablixa. The movie's marketing campaign includes a website for the fictitious anti-depressant with a commercial wherein a reputable physician, played by Jude Law — star in this film — recommends Ablixa while a series of both sad and happy scenes are displayed for viewers to the tune of new-age music one typically finds in these sorts of ads. Just before the commercial ends, a calm voice recites a list of warnings and numerous possible side-effects of the medication, many of which are worse than the condition being treated. Sound familiar?
As the movie opens, we are introduced to a young New Yorker named Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara), who is plagued by depression when her husband, Martin, (Channing Tatum) returns home after a four-year stint in prison for insider trading.
Martin is naturally concerned by his wife’s condition and brings her to an emergency room where he meets Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), a psychiatrist who takes Emily on as a private patient and treats her with a gamut of psychotropic drugs like Prozac.
None of the medications seems to be doing the trick however, prompting Emily’s former therapist Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones) to recommend that Dr. Banks prescribe the marvelous new anti-depressant Ablixa for Emily.
And on Ablixa, Emily seems to miraculously begin to snap out of her depression. She is smiling again and able to enjoy the things that had previously wracked her with a sense of discomfort and hopelessness. She is becoming the wife she wanted to be for her husband and learning to love her life again.
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