Weekly Movie Review: The Circle

The Circle; Disappointing, unforgettable in any size or shape

It’s nearly impossible to exist without encountering some form of technology. From the latest iPhone, the computer and even to the remote to open and close your garage, technology touches nearly every single aspect of our daily lives. While these technological improvements have made our lives better in immeasurable ways, they don’t come without a price. While our technology has increased, privacy, both personally and as a society, has decreased considerably. One new film explores this struggle between technology and privacy. 

The Circle is the story of Mae (Emma Watson), an ambitious, twenty-something, who yearns for more career fulfillment than her nominal customer service job provides. Despite her loving and supportive parents, Mae is extremely unhappy in the direction of career. However, as luck would have it, one phone call alters the trajectory of Mae’s career and life.

Seemingly, out of the blue, Mae receives a call saying she has an interview with The Circle, the world’s foremost tech and social media company. After impressing in her interview, Mae is soon handling customer service complaints for The Circle with ease, much to the satisfaction of the clients and her supervisors. Despite initial apprehension, Mae dives head first into the company’s cult-like environment. However, as Mae begins to rise in the company’s ranks, she uncovers possible terrifying secrets that have deadly consequences.

While The Circle does have an interesting premise, there are some glaring issues with the story, namely the pacing. After first buying into the idea the company should be at the center of every employee’s life, Mae begins having second thoughts about working for The Circle. Then, basically overnight, Mae is all in once again for the company, so much so that she decides to go completely “transparent” and attaches a camera to herself for the entire world to watch 24/7. In addition to Mae’s multiple extreme changes of heart towards The Circle, her best friend, Annie, undergoes a similar radical transformation as well. In the early part of the film, Annie is a complete company devotee, going on and on about how terrific is it to work for The Circle.  And again, for no apparent reason, Annie dramatically changes her position, believing The Circle to be an evil and corrupt organization.

Additionally, besides Mae, the film doesn’t spend much, if any time developing the characters. Instead, most characters feel like caricatures, cardboard cutouts with no real distinguishable personality. Not even the film’s villain and Steve Jobs-like character, Bailey (Tom Hanks) is properly developed. All we’re really given about him is that he has an insatiable desire for power, control and is supposed to have done some pretty evil things. 

Despite its relevant and interesting premise, The Circle is an extremely forgettable and disappointing flick. 2.5 out 5.