Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 32
  2. Negative: 3 out of 32
  1. 100
    Everything about the film -- its casting, its filming, its release -- is daring and innovative.
  2. Of the idiosyncratic ''little'' movies that Soderbergh has made to clear his head (Full Frontal, Schizopolis), this is the first that truly connects.
  3. Bubble is a strong film with a gorgeously minimal script by Coleman Hough. Soderbergh has directed his actors to perfection, rendering them indistinguishable from their roles. And, though the story resorts to sensationalism for its conflict, the film is eloquent in its portrayal of silence, depression, repression, denial and the woes of the Midwestern white working class.
  4. Soderbergh and screenwriter Coleman Hough aren't interested in creating a coy whodunit so much as evoking the deeper, less romantic mysteries of people -- and it's riveting.
  5. 88
    A potent and provocative look at life unhinged. Bubble is said to be the first in a series of six low-budget films from Soderbergh. If they all rock the boat like this one, bring 'em on.
  6. Soderbergh does overemphasize the "little-people" dreariness of it all. But there is much low-key humor here, too, albeit on the dark side.
  7. Easier to admire than love, Bubble is a fascinating exercise that seems calculated to repel most audiences, which probably suits Mr. Soderbergh just fine.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    80
    The film doesn't judge or prod its characters, just watches the long fuse of the plot dwindle, then explode.
  9. Starting off as a low-key psychological drama, this suddenly turns into a murder mystery that's resolved awkwardly and ambiguously, but the fascination of the characters and milieu remains.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    75
    An odd little movie and a good one, worthy for what it is and potentially groundbreaking for how it's being made available.
  11. 75
    Simply too odd and unconventional to ever appeal to a broad audience, either at the multiplex or on home video.
  12. It's reassuring to see Steven Soderbergh return to riveting down-and-dirty filmmaking with Bubble.
  13. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    Bubble is a haunting film, made all the more intriguing by the use of ordinary people, not actors, in all the roles.
  14. 75
    In movies this deliberately paced, the line between fascination and boredom is a fine one, easily crossed. Fortunately, Bubble stays on the right side of that line.
  15. The film manages to be an intriguing, grimly entertaining, strangely haunting little slice of heartland noir very much in the experimental tradition of such previous Soderbergh oddities as "Schizopolis" and "Full Frontal."
  16. Despite its refreshingly straightforward style and compelling performers, the movie feels encased in an invisible, filmy membrane of its own. Soderbergh keeps his characters on one side of the wall and his audience on the other. As to which is living in the real world, I guess that's open to discussion.
  17. 70
    Strange and off-putting, and hard-nosed types in the film business will no doubt dismiss it as a nothing. But, even if Bubble hasn't brought down the Bastille, the movie is far from nothing.
  18. 67
    It's almost condescending, as though Soderbergh were challenging himself to make Middle America interesting. And yet the movie IS interesting, almost in spite of itself.
  19. 63
    One of the more interesting low-budget experiments Steven Soderbergh has indulged in between flashy Hollywood entertainments.
  20. 63
    Ultimately, Bubble is less important as a film than as an experiment in simultaneous cross-platform film distribution.
  21. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    Bubble is a stunt in search of a movie, and it almost finds one.
  22. 50
    Bubble is the moviemaking equivalent of the worst narrative journalism. Every bit of "human interest" is so painstakingly planted, so determined to be applauded for its observation and sensitivity, it ends up seeming as slick and bogus as the worst Hollywood blockbuster.
  23. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    50
    Worth seeing, even if you're as ambivalent about it as I am. Its strength is in the way the drama creeps up on you.
  24. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    50
    Likeable if unexciting little tale.
  25. The experience is interesting, in a flattened way.
  26. Likely to be remembered more for its method of manufacture and release than for any inherent qualities of its own. It will also become one of the many fascinating footnotes in the always provocative career of Steven Soderbergh.
  27. 40
    I'd rate Bubble at no better than a C-plus for artistic achievement and a D-minus for audience appeal. In one sense, it accomplishes its goals efficiently by making you feel, in less than 80 minutes, as if you've gotten permanently trapped in the dead-end, trailer-park lives of its working-class characters. I've never been so grateful to get out of a theater, turn my cellphone back on and plug myself into a $4 Starbucks latte.
  28. 40
    The story is so flat and transparent in the telling, so empty of psychological mystery and depth, it skates dangerously close to condescension.
  29. The three stars are all perfectly naturalistic, but their roles are too bloodless and their patter too dry.
  30. An embarrassment to all concerned, the film was written, directed and produced by Soderbergh for reasons that are not readily apparent.
  31. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    20
    Bubble is among his (Soderbergh) worst films. What in the world was he thinking with this?
  32. Reviewed by: Stephen Metcalf
    10
    So brutal a negation of the popcorn aesthetic is liable to be mistaken for artistic courage. A grindingly slow pace, a quarter-baked plot, a semidocumentary focus on the lives of the working poor: It's enough to make you whimper "Matt Damon" in defeat.

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