What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects is a twisty thriller centered on psychiatry and antidepressants. There's murder (by stabbing) and blood, as well as some argumentative, aggressive scenes in hospitals. The main character appears topless and mostly naked and participates in more than one strongly suggestive sex scene with her husband; there are also sensual scenes between two female characters. Language is strong but not constant and includes a few uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Drugs are perhaps the movie's main issue, with the main characters taking many different types of prescriptions and reacting in various ways. The movie never really seems to endorse or condemn these drugs, leaving it up to the viewer to decide. Older teens may find the questions the movie raises interesting, and it may open up important discussions with their parents.
  • Families can talk about how Side Effects depicts prescription drugs. Does it make antidepressants and other medications look appealing? Do the consequences seem realistic?
  • What is the movie saying about turning to medication as a solution for problems? How much work does the main character put into getting better, and how much of it is the responsibility of the pills?
  • Talk about the major violent scene. How necessary was it to the story? Does it add or take away from the movie's themes?
  • Which of these characters (if any) did you end up rooting for? Are any of them role models?
POSITIVE MESSAGES
VIOLENCE & SCARINESS
LANGUAGE
CONSUMERISM
DRINKING & DRUGS
SEXY STUFF
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