The Circle

A frighetning look into our not so distant future…

Directed by: James Ponsoldt

Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and Patton Oswolt

What would it be like if social media went to a whole new level? Not just better and faster internet service, but more interactive and even more invasive. One company, a very large and powerful software company, has such a plan. To connect the entire world and every, yes – EVERY, person in it!

circleThe Circle is based off the book by Dave Eggers. A company, very much in the mold of Apple, is the center of all things social media. Customer service at its utmost finest is what they pride themselves on, but being fully connected to each other is their bread and butter. Everyone involved can and does know everything about each other. It’s Facebook stalking to a Black Mirror level. Close your eyes and you may think this film takes place in the future, but it does not. It’s parallels to how close our society is to becoming this way in real life is what could be most disturbing.

Mae (Emma ‘you’ll always be Hermoine to me’ Watson) is the new hire at The Circle and she has zero trouble fast tracking her way to the top. She falls in love with the idea of everyone in the world having the ability to know everything about each other. Bailey (Tom ‘could be the best actor of our generation’ Hanks) is the man in charge. He is the Steve Jobs if you will. He immediately recognizes Maes potential and promotes her right up the ladder to brainstorm the newest and latest advances in their technology. His biggest reveal is tiny cameras that any consumer can buy. They go anywhere and discreetly broadcast high definition and in-depth footage of anything in their view. With access to these cameras placed all over the earth we will never miss a moment. Accountability for every man, woman and child will be held right before our eyes.

“Knowing is good, but knowing everything is better.” -Bailey

Controversial? Of course. The film briefly touches on what pushback any of these ideals could come up against. The film remains largely inside of the wonderland that is The Circle campus, therefore all the like-minded Circle employees are enthralled with each advancement put before them. It is only when Mae goes off campus that she is reminded not everyone may want to share every waking moment with the world. Her ex-boyfriend Mercer (Eller ‘the kid from Boyhood not Modern Family’ Colltrane), whom she still remains close with along with her parents are very hesitant towards this new way of thinking.

The byproduct of these new advancements vs protection of personal privacy rear the ugliest results for Mae and the company. Decisions both professionally and morally need to be made before things get worse….or better depending how you feel.

The movie is a bit confusing and fast paced. I read the book so was able to understand but my wife repeatedly was a bit curious as to what the plot of the film was actually about. I’ve also been accused of being a little too interested in social media (by that same wife), so maybe that helped my accepting of the films premise. Once you’re on board with the consequences of the plot, it seems the film has wrapped up. Without many a detail that the book can provide I think the pacing gets too quick for this movie. It doesn’t give anyone time to become invested. You’re too busy figuring out if you even agree with what’s going on before choosing which characters to root for.

The acting does a better job than I think will get noticed. The script seemed filled with a lot of quick sentences. No length to a monologue or even a paragraph for each actor to truly give life to the character. Watson did an especially good job here. Conveying emotion while portraying a character and giving an American accent is no easy task, yet she did it almost effortlessly. A knock on Hanks for a few years is that we’ve seen enough of his work that we have become numb to his performances. Some even accuse him of playing the same guy in every film (blasphemy, I know). But this performance is in his subtleties. Not to be ranked amongst his all-time performances, but this one was solid Hanks.

Having mediocre feelings from the book I waited until this movie was rentable for home viewing and am glad I did so. If you’re a big fan of Hanks (guilty) or Watson then I do recommend checking it out. It’s a film that maybe should be watched with a group of folks who then can have a fun discussion on whether they agree or disagree with some of the advances The Circle is trying to promote. You could also be the guy to claim he just read some cities have already started implementing such standards…just to get a reaction of the few gullible in your crowd. Which ironically, did you know that the word gullible is not in the dictionary?

The Circle. An interesting conversation starter.

6 outta 10


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