Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 105

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User Ratings: 13,585


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Average Rating: 3.1/5

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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 factory to help them with the holiday rush. Rose soon tells the others that she's eager to leave their town, where there is "nothing to do." She immediately attracts Kyle's attention. One night, Rose asks Martha to baby-sit for her two-year-old daughter while she goes out on a date. Martha is startled to learn that her date is with Kyle. When Rose returns home that night, she's greeted by her angry ex-boyfriend, Jake (K. Smith), who accuses her of stealing from him. Martha looks on while Rose and Jake have a heated confrontation. The next morning, one of the characters is found murdered, and a detective (played by Decker Moody) begins to investigate. Bubble was written by Coleman Hough, who also scripted Soderbergh's Full Frontal. It was shown at the 2005 New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

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Omar Cowan
as Martha's Dad
Laurie Lee
as Kyle's Mother
Decker Moody
as Detective Don
Steve Deem
as Pawn Shop Owner
Daniel R. Christian
as Factory Supervisor
Terrence V. Williams II
as Officer Williams
Thomas R. Davis
as Officer Davis
Terrence B. Williams II
as Officer Williams
Scott Smeeks
as Officer Smeeks
Dawn Hall
as Nail Shop Owner
Katherine Beaumier
as Hairdresser
Joyce Brookhart
as Martha's Neice
Amanda Massey
as Waitress
Adam C. Anderson
as Officer Anderson
Jeffrey R. Morris
as Officer Morris
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News & Interviews for Bubble

Critic Reviews for Bubble

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (36)

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, and...it'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.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

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.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Where "Full Frontal" (also written by Coleman Hough) was Steven Soderbergh's ode to Polish meta-narrative and "Ocean's Twelve" was his valentine to Jean-Luc Godard, "Bubble" is Soderbergh's neorealism tribute. Employing non-actors (whom are all extremely potent) and filming in a real, decaying Ohio town (a doll factory is at the center) Soderbergh proves how deadly the banal black holes of middle American can be in the 21st century. Watching as these people are ripped from their lives by impulsive crime (there is more going on here than just the murder for attentive viewers) is oddly harrowing. Steven Soderbergh has proved that he can deliver slick Hollywood entertainment like "Ocean's Eleven" and "Erin Brockovich" but it's the fact that he is able to pull off films like "Bubble" that prove he is a true filmmaker and artist. This is yet another truly unique Steven Soderbergh experience.

Steven Carrier
Steven Carrier

Super Reviewer


"Another Steven Soderbergh Experience" Set against the backdrop of a decaying Midwestern town, a murder becomes the focal point of three people who work in a doll factory.

A hypnotic and haunting art film from director Steven Soderbergh, Bubble tells the story of three Ohio factory workers and the relationships that they share and fall into and out of. No description of the script or story, though, can hint at the amazingly simple, yet dark and fascinating portrait that Bubble displays of the three people's lives. It is expertly executed and performed, and it mesmerizes from start to finish. Cast with local non-actors (and at points filmed in their real-life homes), the acting is better than what one would expect from seasoned studio actors. Bubble stands apart from the crowd of other films that are out there. It may not be for everyone, but for any film buff that is interested in seeing a character study that is very different and original, it's definitely for you.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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