The Double (2013 film)

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The Double
UK release poster
Directed by Richard Ayoade
Produced by
  • Robin C. Fox
  • Amina Dasmal
Written by
  • Richard Ayoade
  • Avi Korine
Based on The Double 
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Music by Andrew Hewitt
Cinematography Erik Wilson
Edited by
Distributed by StudioCanal UK
(United Kingdom)
Release dates
  • 7 September 2013 (2013-09-07) (TIFF)
  • 4 April 2014 (2014-04-04) (United Kingdom)
Running time 93 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $1.7 million[2][3]

Not to be confused with The Double (2011 film)

The Double is a 2013 British black comedy film written and directed by Richard Ayoade and starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska. The film is based on the novella The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It is about a man driven to breakdown when he is usurped by a doppelgänger.[4] The film was produced by Alcove Entertainment, with Michael Caine, Graeme Cox (Attercop), Tessa Ross (Film4) and Nigel Williams as executive producers.


Downtrodden Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) has worked at his office for seven years, but he is ignored by his boss and colleagues. From his apartment he spies on a beautiful coworker he admires, Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), who lives in the apartment opposite. He sees her throwing away art and secretly retrieves and admires it.

Simon sees a man jump to his death from the floor above Hannah's apartment. He talks to detectives, who explain that if the man had jumped a few feet to the right, he would have been badly hurt but would have survived.

Simon's boss (Wallace Shawn) announces the arrival of a new employee, James Simon (also played by Eisenberg), who looks identical to Simon, which causes Simon to faint upon first glance. Assertive and charming, James is Simon's polar opposite. Much to Simon's annoyance, James not only gets respect from their co-workers but no one seems to notice the striking resemblance between the two. James, on the other hand, does notice this and sees Simon's pain. Out of pity, he decides to buddy-up with Simon and give him advice about how to seduce Hannah. Hannah then asks him on a date through Simon. On the date, Simon pretends to be James, with the real James giving him instructions via earpiece. When Simon becomes nervous, the two swap places and James kisses Hannah, angering Simon. James asks Simon to take an aptitude test in his place and seduces their boss's surly, rebellious daughter, Melanie (Yasmin Paige), whom Simon was reluctantly hired to tutor.

Simon gets his revenge on James by revealing to Hannah that James is cheating on her with Melanie. Furious, James blackmails Simon for his apartment keys using explicit photos he took of himself with Melanie, knowing their boss will believe it is Simon in the photos. At work, Simon accuses James of being an imposter and is fired after going on a maniacal tirade. As he is about to kill himself, he sees Hannah lying unconscious in her apartment. He calls an ambulance and accompanies her to the hospital, where it's revealed that she not only overdosed but also miscarried (she had become pregnant after a sexual encounter with James). Simon then takes Hannah back home, relieved that she's alright. She remains ungrateful, however, stating that she wanted to die and suggesting that Simon kill himself. She goes through Simon's jacket pockets and discovers her art.

Simon learns his mother has died and finds James at her funeral. Simon punches him and discovers that they share injuries; as James's nose bleeds, so does Simon's. He finds Hannah and tells her he wants to be noticed. He goes to his apartment and handcuffs the sleeping James to his bed, then goes to the ledge above Hannah's apartment, steps to the right, and jumps. He survives but is badly hurt. Hannah runs to him and an ambulance arrives. Lacking medical attention, the handcuffed James appears to be on the brink of death as he lies motionless on the apartment floor.

Within the ambulance The Colonel (James Fox) and Hannah watch over Simon. The Colonel tells Simon that he is "special", to which the latter responds with a half-smile, "I'd like to think I'm pretty unique".



In February 2012 it was reported that Richard Ayoade would direct The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, in the United Kingdom.[4][6] Principal photography began on 20 May 2012 in London.[5][7]


The score by Andrew Hewitt features a recurring progression of heavy chords played by strings. The chord progression comes from the song "Der Doppelgänger" by Franz Schubert.


The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on 7 September 2013.[8][9][10] On 15 October 2013 it was announced that Magnolia Pictures had acquired the US rights to the film for a 2014 release.[11] The Double opened in two cinemas in the US and grossed $14,646. It ended up grossing $145,511 in North America and $1,306,588 internationally for a total of $1,452,099[2]


Critical Response[edit]

The Double received positive reviews from critics and has a "Certified Fresh" rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 114 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9 out of 10. The consensus states "Hauntingly bleak and thrillingly ambitious, The Double offers Jesse Eisenberg a pair of compelling roles while reaffirming writer-director Richard Ayoade's remarkable talent."[12] The film also has a score of 68 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 31 critics indicating 'Generally favorable reviews'.[13]

Jon Espino from gave the film 9 out of 10 stars, stating, "Writer/Director Richard Ayoade had really outdone himself. The way he re-imagined and modernized Fyodor Dostoevsky's novella The Double, is a pure artistic vision. The dark tones are only enhanced by the light notes of humor throughout the film. Ayoade's avant garde, experimental style and minimalist set design sound like an odd couple, but they actually work great together." He also goes on to praise Eisenberg's performance saying, "In his best work since The Social Network, Eisenberg portrays the polarized personalities of Simon and James with such ease. The story basically rests on his shoulders as we follow him on his descent into madness. In between the fast-paced dialogue and front-lit shots there is also a very complex story that leaves the ending open to interpretation." [14]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "The Double (2014) (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Kemp, Stuart (1 February 2012). "Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska Join The Double Cast". The Hollywood Reporter (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Richard Ayoade Starts Production On New Project The Double This Month". The Playlist (IndieWire). 11 May 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Kemp, Stuart (9 February 2012). "Berlin 2012: Studiocanal Takes U.K. Rights to Richard Ayoade's The Double". The Hollywood Reporter (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Drummond, Andrew (21 May 2012). "Wasikowska makes Cannes touchdown". Australian Associated Press (ninemsn). Archived from the original on 22 May 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Punter, Jeannie (23 July 2013). "Toronto International Film Festival Unveils Lineup". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Toronto film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). 23 July 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Double". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "Magnolia Grabs Rights to Ayoade's Double Plus Two UK Posters". Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Double". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  13. ^ "The Double Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  14. ^ Estrada, Stephanie (2014-05-12). "Jon's VOD Pick of the Week: The Double". The Young Folks. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 

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