Untrained Actors Get Called Up to the Major Leagues
Release Date: January 27, 2006
Starring: Debbie Doebereiner, Dustin
James Ashley, Misty Dawn
Wilkins, and Decker Moody
Rating: R for some strong foul
Runtime: 75 minutes
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Executive Producer: Mark Cuban, Jason Kliot, Joana
Vicente, and Todd Wagner
Producer: Gregory Jacobs and Steven
Writer: Coleman Hough
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Martha is in her 40s and cares for her elderly father. Kyle is a quiet, handsome guy in his 20s who lives with his mother. Martha and Kyle both seem to lead solitary lives and, working together in an Ohio doll factory, they develop a tenuous friendship built on carpools, lunch breaks and chitchat. The balance is upset when Rose, a pretty woman around Kyle’s age, gets a job at the factory. Now Rose is part of the chitchat and has a seat at the lunch table. Upping the subtle tension, she begins to take Kyle outside so the two of them can smoke.
After Kyle and Rose’s first date, BUBBLE shifts into “Law & Order” territory: Rose has been murdered, and there are three suspects. The murderer is revealed soon enough, but “Why?” is a more pressing question than “Who?” Although there is a slight murder mystery element, the movie’s main goal is to explore efforts to find meaningful relationships.
Soderbergh’s decision to use untrained actors is vindicated; their genuineness makes BUBBLE compelling. The script’s precise economy helps, too, as the dialogue is charged with more meaning than it has literally. Impressive is the scene in which Martha takes a picture of Kyle because “you’re my best friend.” Their relationship is crystallized in this quick exchange. She feels strongly about him, but even if he appreciates Martha, he doesn’t feel the same way that she does.
The images are just as potent, as every moment spent looking at living room décor and fast food buildings helps the audience to understand the town, the job, the lives that Martha and Kyle lead. Soderbergh and his writer Hough have done an outstanding job bringing some living, breathing characters to the screen.
One scene contains a burst of foul language – the only scene in the movie. Its slow, methodical pace requires more attention than a typical Hollywood drama. Aside from that scene of foul language, there is some brief discussion of marijuana and a character who steals from her friends. There is no depicted sexual or violent content.
BUBBLE is a good think piece that avoids being too arty or experimental. It is realistic without being boring or exploitive.
BUBBLE is a realistic think piece, but still enjoyable and compelling. One scene contains a burst of strong foul language, however, and there is brief discussion of marijuana. No violent or sexual content is depicted. In the end, the movie is about people trying and failing to connect with one another.