The Double

Critics Consensus

Hauntingly bleak and thrillingly ambitious, The Double offers Jesse Eisenberg a pair of compelling roles while reaffirming writer-director Richard Ayoade's remarkable talent.



Total Count: 129


Audience Score

User Ratings: 18,358
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Movie Info

Eisenberg plays Simon, a timid, isolated man who's overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams (Wasikowska). The arrival of a new co-worker, James (also played by Eisenberg), serves to upset the balance. James is both Simon's exact physical double and his opposite - confident, charismatic and good with women. To Simon's horror, James slowly starts taking over his life. (c) Magnolia

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Jesse Eisenberg
as Simon James/James Simon
Wallace Shawn
as Mr. Papadopoulos
Yasmin Paige
as Melanie Papadopoulos
James Fox
as The Colonel
Craig Roberts
as Detective
Paddy Considine
as Jack as PT
Sally Hawkins
as Receptionist
Phyllis Somerville
as Simon's Mother
Tony Rohr
as Rudolph
Jon Korkes
as Detective
Tim Key
as Staff Member
Lloyd Woolf
as Investigator
Lydia Ayoade
as Test Invigilator
J. Mascis
as Janitor
Kierston Wareing
as Funeral Date
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News & Interviews for The Double

Critic Reviews for The Double

All Critics (129) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (107) | Rotten (22)

  • British director Ayoade's second film is jam-packed with witty references, from cheesy sci-fi soap operas to the long-suffering men who populate the Coen brothers' films.

    Dec 31, 2017 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • The film's bleakness is almost satirical. It's Brazil drained of the daydreams.

    Jun 13, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The Double invites second looks and close examination. As Simon finds when peering into mirrors, what we see is often unexpected.

    Jun 12, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The Double doesn't get very deep, but it does get interesting.

    May 23, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • "The Double" has a theatrical, self-conscious quality to it; the performances feel stagy and its production design looks like a grimly monotone Wes Anderson movie.

    May 22, 2014 | Rating: 2/4
  • "The Double" is a striking piece of work, but it's nostalgic for a kind of paranoia that may no longer exist. There are different things to frighten us now.

    May 15, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Double

  • Mar 15, 2018
    This atmospheric and visually stylized psychological thriller based on Dostoevsky brings to mind Kafka, Hitchcock, Brian De Palma, Orson Welles and even David Lynch in the way it makes us share the unsettling existence of a shy man who is forced to confront his loneliness.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 25, 2015
    A confounding and overly stylized psychological thriller, The Double is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Using a 1950's steampunk aesthetic, the film follows a filing clerk (played by Jesse Eisenberg) who slowly loses his identity when a doppelganger that looks just like him shows up and starts taking over his life. Eisenberg does a decent job at portraying the two characters and at giving them unique personalities. But the storytelling's rather poor, and makes it hard to follow what's going on and whether the story is literal or metaphoric. Additionally, the tone is quite cold and bleak. The Double is a confusing and overly ambiguous film, and isn't worth the trouble of figuring out.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 02, 2015
    The Double tells the tale of Simon James, a young man who has worked at the same company for over 7 years yet goes unnoticed by everyone around him, much to his discontent. Simon is quiet and gives off an awkward gawkiness, particularly when attempting to make conversation with his crush, Hannah. However, Simon's sullen existential crisis hardly has time to irritate him as he's thrown into an almost supernatural whiplash. At his workplace, a new man named James Simon-a reversal of his own name-is hired and revered by the other employees, living off high praise at work during the day and being a seductive womanizer during the night. We immediately know not all is as it seems as we're introduced to James Simon, largely due to the fact that he looks identical to Simon James. As a friendship flourishes between the two, it becomes evident that James is a cunning and manipulative individual, interested only in his own success and self-worth as he uses Simon to his liking. The Double builds with sinister suspense, yet never loses touch with its satirical undertones and darkly gothic atmosphere. The film is both riotous and alluring, rendering a moodily artistic feel in an imaginative yet subtle dystopian future.
    DA Z Super Reviewer
  • Nov 21, 2014
    No better pairing could exist than having an adaptation of Dostoyevsky directed by Richard Ayoade. One is absurdist and nearly dystopian, the other whimsical in a deliberate way. With grim settings, on edge characters, and a premise that belies logic for a sense of anonymity, "The Double" is a weird, wondrous ride through the mind of an invisible cog in a strange machine. Featuring Eisenberg in dual roles, he is both uncouth and barely audible, shamelessly self-promoting and irresponsibly obtuse. Other great performances come from Wallace Shawn as a near sighted boss, Mia Wasikowska as the love interest, and Cathy Moriarty in a great cameo as a waitress. Though much of this is engrossing, I would say the level of thoughtfulness sometimes overshadows the action, as it feels like a calculated thought experiment, more than a plot driven farce. What makes this film an interesting watch is the palpable tension between what's real and what's not, what's fair and what's not. It's outrageous in its simplicity, and depressing in its realism. Highly recommended for those with a quirky sense of humor, a love of the absurd, and a need for something intellectually stimulating.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer

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