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Bubble (2006)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 104
Fresh: 75 | Rotten: 29

This rigorously stripped down, seemingly mundane little film still manages to be engrossing and creepy.


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 12

This rigorously stripped down, seemingly mundane little film still manages to be engrossing and creepy.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 13,496

My Rating

Movie Info

Steven Soderbergh followed up his slick, star-studded sequel, Ocean's Twelve, with Bubble, a small-town drama about workers in a doll factory, played by a cast of unknowns. Martha (Debbie Doebereiner) seems to have acclimated herself to a very simple life. She works at the factory, where she eats lunch with a younger co-worker, Kyle (Dustin Ashley), and goes home to take care of her elderly father. Her routine is disrupted when an attractive young woman, Rose (Misty Wilkins), is hired at the

Jan 31, 2006


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All Critics (108) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (75) | Rotten (29) | DVD (7)

Bubble is best considered as a failed-but-occasionally-nifty experiment.

November 27, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
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The local atmosphere, filmed on the Ohio-West Virginia border, is rigorously authentic and so is the cast, none of whose members have acted before.

October 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
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I was blown away.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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There's an honesty in what Soderbergh's camera has captured that, while not real in the strictest sense of the term, is nevertheless true-to-life.

February 16, 2006 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not really interesting enough to warrant a regular run. But it's worth a one-shot 73-minute outing on the program of your local festival.

February 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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These conversations are about as deadly dull as any dialogue I've ever heard even in the earliest talkies.

February 8, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Observer | Comments (2)
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A still, sometimes eerie imitation of life that casts a cold eye over small town paralysis.

November 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine Australasia
Empire Magazine Australasia

Is there another contemporary filmmaker whose work swings as unpredictably between the seductive and the alienating as does Steven Soderbergh's?

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Finally got around to seeing this film and was impressed with Soderbergh's experimental style. This guy continues to be one of best directors around today. Paul Chambers, CNN.

May 1, 2010 Full Review Source: CNNRadio

Both self-sufficient and utterly incomplete

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Soderbergh artlessly presents America's concealed poverty that drives the paltry ambitions of many of its citizens.

April 16, 2009 Full Review Source:

"Bubble" is paced very deliberately, like a slowly dripping faucet. Scenes do not seem to be performed, but rather captured like surveillance videos.

April 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Beyond Hollywood
Beyond Hollywood

Bubble is an intriguing work for other reasons, though: in some ways, Soderbergh takes us back to his iconic debut, sex, lies and videotape, where realism was the film's most powerful weapon.

April 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Appears at first glance to be either a violent attack on the white working poor, or not aggressive enough in its critique of the cultural degradation of that social class.

February 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinematical

Not quite Hitchcock, but a satisfying flick, and proof positive that you don't need a big budget or A-list talent to make a decent whodunit.

May 20, 2007 Full Review Source:

Life and death among the working poor. Critics hated it because it lacked entertainment value. That's more of a condemnation of them than the film.

February 4, 2007 Full Review Source:

The film is called Bubble, but it represents the first time in ages Steven Soderbergh has worked outside of his personal territory.

September 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Stylus Magazine

Versatile director Steven Soderbergh leaves the bright lights of Las Vegas far behind for this quiet, stark tale of friendship and murder in a small Midwestern town.

September 1, 2006 Full Review Source:

Fascinante estudo de personagens, Bubble não é um filme marcado por ações, mas por sutilezas.

July 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Soderbergh simply displays ordinary people as they are and challenges us to determine why smiles become rare blips on the blue-collar radar.

May 4, 2006 Full Review Source:

... A great film by any standard.

March 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

There is an admirable rigor to Soderbergh's technique here, but it leads to a generally unsatisfying experience.

February 27, 2006

Sans être son effort le plus créatif à ce jour, Bubble demeure une entrée courageuse dans la filmographie d'un réalisateur si bien ancré dans le paysage hollywoodien.

February 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Panorama

Audience Reviews for Bubble

Coming off the heels of Ocean's Twelve, Steven Soderbergh opted for something different with this little indie gem.

This movie did something rather unprecedented by being released in theaters and on demand the same day, and then straight to DVD just a few days later. Why? I dunno. It's kinda cool though. That's not the only unconventional aspect of this production though.

This is the story of three employees at a doll factory in a small midwestern town. They live simple lives, barely scrape by, and slowly find themselves shaken out of their comfortable world when their routines change just a bit, especially in the case of one of them.

That's pretty much it, really. There's not much of a plot, and where there is, doesn't really come about until about 60 minutes into this 73 minute picture. There's no script, with the dialogue being improvised based off of an outline, and the actors are all local non professionals who use their own houses (clothes (I'm guessing), and kids. Soderbergh also acts as his own DP and editor, using various synonyms, although this isn't anything new for him.

The film is all about a sense of realism and authenticity, but I think it might get a little too real times. It's not a documentary, but it really feels that way, though somewhat stylized just a bit.

This is a quiet, almost eerie look into the ordinary and mundane lives of average citizens,'s pretty good. Yeah, it is rather slow and uneventful, but this is basically what it would be like if reality TV were, you know, real.

I liked this movie, but I think I respect it more. Despite not much going on, it is kinda unnerving. The end is a little bit rushed, but it does get somewhat fixed thanks to a deleted scene. Overall though, I applaud the performers for being so trusting, and I likewise give many props to Soderbergh for the nuanced way he paints these people. I say people instead of characters because it really feels like the most realistic thing I've ever seen.

This is definitely some very indie and artsy stuff, so if you're not into that side of Soderbergh's work, then skip it. If you dig this side of him, or it just sounds intriguing in general, then yeah, give it a look.
May 26, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Steven Soderbergh has quite a large following of devout followers but I really can't see what makes him so special. 'Another Steven Soderbergh Experience' is becoming more of a warning than a selling point. I understand why you'd want to make a social piece with non-actors, film it on a Mini DV and just release it without fanfare, sure, if you've got the money then I'm all for the 'Point and shoot' philosophy. It's just that you have to have a firm message, good angle or open discussion to make it interesting. Life is hard in middle America, I get it, and? There is nothing knew or particularly interesting going on here. The budget was $1,600,000 and it made $145,382. So it's a film with a flawed message that failed to make a fraction of what it cost to make. Revolutionary film making huh! On a personal note, and no one is to take offense at this but there is nothing worse than American films trying to be European other than perhaps European films trying to be American.
April 12, 2013

Super Reviewer

"Another Steven Soderbergh Experience"

Bubble is a film that won't be appreciated by your friends. You know, the people who watch two types of movies; either stupid comedies with Will Farrell or Adam Sandler or dumb action movies like The Fast and the Furious. Bubble is one of Steven Soderbergh's experiments and a fascinating one at that. When Soderbergh does a movie like this; it brings to mind only one other filmmaker. That would be Gus Van Sant. They both can successfully take random people who aren't actors and throw them into a movie, eliminate all the gimmicks of standard filmmaking, and make a movie that is extremely real. Bubble is like Van Sant's Paranoid Park. Both if which are amazing.

Bubble is set in a shitty Ohio town; just slightly worse then the one I have to look at every day. The movie centers around three characters who work at a doll factory. When the new girl, Rose goes out on a date with an fellow employee, she leaves another worker, Martha, to babysit her daughter. The date goes good and she is dropped off at home, where her ex barges in saying she stole from him. From there it is a small time crime mystery that is about more then just a murder. The story is excellently told with little excitement, just like it would be in real life.

It's a simple movie with a delicate touch. The actors are real people using real dialogue, and less acting and more just going about their day. The only music in the movie is during little scenes where we watch a character do something, and the music is as simple as some chords played on an acoustic guitar. The film is also extremely short at 73 minutes, which plays right into the style and simpleness of the film itself.

You have to really like experimental, art films to like this one. It surely isn't for everyone, but if you are a fan of Soderbergh and experimental films in general, you can't go wrong here. It's a truly excellent little movie that proves that Soderbergh is more than an average director(although he already proved that many times over), and that he is an artist and visionary. Movies like Bubble explain why Soderbergh is one of my favorite directors around at the moment.
July 5, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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