5.3/10
66,945
452 user 242 critic

The Circle (2017)

Trailer
2:27 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ALL
A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.

Director:

James Ponsoldt

Writers:

James Ponsoldt (screenplay by), Dave Eggers (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
836 ( 142)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Emma Watson ... Mae
Ellar Coltrane ... Mercer
Glenne Headly ... Bonnie
Bill Paxton ... Vinnie
Karen Gillan ... Annie
Tom Hanks ... Bailey
Beck ... Beck
Nate Corddry ... Dan
Mamoudou Athie ... Jared
Roger Joseph Manning Jr. Roger Joseph Manning Jr. ... Beck Bandmate
Joey Waronker Joey Waronker ... Beck Bandmate
Michael Shuman ... Beck Bandmate
Nick Valensi Nick Valensi ... Beck Bandmate (as Nicholas Valensi)
John Boyega ... Ty
Regina Saldivar ... Partier
Edit

Storyline

When Mae is hired to work for the world's largest and most powerful tech and social media company, she sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company's founder, Eamon Bailey, to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes, begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Circle's technology has the power to change the world. But one woman is about to discover its darkest secret. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a sexual situation, brief strong language and some thematic elements including drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Melinda's Song See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,034,148, 28 April 2017, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$20,476,391, 2 June 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Annie video calls Mae was shot by Karen Gillan 's crew while they were filming Gillan's feature film The Party's Just Beginning (2018) in Scotland. See more »

Goofs

When Mae puts on the body camera, it's described as "total transparency" of her life. Yet she can choose to turn it off for bathroom breaks (or to have secret meetings in the bathroom), so it's not a total record of everything she's done or said. See more »

Quotes

Mae: I'm most scared of unfulfilled potential.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A dedication to Bill Paxton at the closing credits which reads: "For Bill". See more »

Connections

References The Simpsons (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Farewell Transmission
Written by Jason Molina
Performed by Songs: Ohia
Courtesy of Secretly Canadian
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Full of endless circular logic and irony
28 April 2017 | by RLTerry1See all my reviews

Director James Ponsoldt's The Circle depicts the story of a not-so-distant future, or perhaps an alternative present, in which one company dominates digital media, data gathering, and surveillance services. Based upon the four-year-old novel by author Dave Eggers, you'll notice some stark similarities between this motion picture narrative and the smash hit TV series Black Mirror. The biggest difference between the two is that The Circle is fast-faced and poorly written whereas Black Mirror is a slow-burning but well-written anthology series. In addition to the similarities between the aforementioned, there are certainly elements of The Truman Show in this movie as well. With a powerhouse cast, brilliant composer (Danny Elfman), and excellent editing, The Circle appears to have what a blockbuster needs; however, the hollow characters, poor character development, fractured subplots, and overall diegesis hold the film back from reaching the impact that it could have had. Having taken a digital media and privacy class in graduate school, and published a few articles, this is a film that I was looking forward to in order to analyze how the social commentary or commentary on the human condition regarding reasonable expectations of privacy and big data were integrated into the plot. Sadly, the screenplay was not strong or developed significantly enough to provide big data and privacy discussions.

Mae Holland (Emma Watson) hates her job at the water company, so she is incredibly excited when her friend Annie (Karen Gillan) lands Mae an interview at The Circle, the world's most powerful technology and social media company. Mae's fear of unfulfilled potential impresses the recruiters at The Circle and she lands the opportunity of a lifetime. After Mae puts herself into harm's way but rescued, thanks to The Circle's newest surveillance and data gathering system, she is encouraged by the company founder Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) to take a more active role in technology development by participating in an experiment that puts Mae's life on display for the world (in the vein of The Truman Show) to see. Once Mae turns on that camera, she has more "friends" than she ever imagined and becomes an instant online celebrity. Unfortunately, this decision will affect those closest to Mae and the negative ramifications will reach far beyond her inner circle and begin to impact humanity at large. Sometimes, people just don't want to be found or be "social."

For all The Circle has going for it, the weak screenplay keeps it from being the blockbuster that it so desperately wants to be. A great movie typically begins with solid writing, and that is what's missing here. After five minutes (or so it seems) of opening title logos, perhaps that is indirect evidence that there were just too many hands in the pot, each trying to take the movie's narrative in a different direction. Much like Frozen plays off like two different movies crudely sewn together, The Circle appears to be one movie for the first two acts, but takes an unexpected and unfulfilling turn in the third. A couple of conspicuous unanswered questions come after Mae meets TrueYou designer and founder Ty (John Boyega). He designed the platform that launched The Circle. At one point he asks Mae to meet him in a secret tunnel (where all the servers are stored) and tells her that "it's worse than I thought." Great opportunity to introduce intrigue, suspense, and more. The problem is that the audience is never told what Ty finds or what happens with what he found. You can remove that whole subplot and the movie remains the same. There are other subplots that are nicely introduced, but never carried out as well. Any or all of them can be removed and the film proceeds the same. Not good. If you can remove several subplots or unfulfilled turning points and the film's diegesis remain largely untouched, then you have poor writing. The third act in and of itself leaves audiences with a hurried ending that does little to provide closure to the narrative; however, it does support the film's circular logic and irony. Hardly satisfying.

In terms of the allegory here, The Circle is a Google-like company with Apple's technology. Eamon Bailey is a Steve Jobs type innovator with characteristics of Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Eric Schmidt. Thankfully, The Circle does not represent any one company, but rather combines all the most notable innovations and technological achievements of Google, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, and more into one globally dominating company. Antitrust issues are introduced early on, but again, that's never fully developed. The movie highlights many issues faced by private citizens, governments, and digital data driven companies today; therefore, it sets the foundation for a movie that could have been thought-provoking, but the writing hinders that ability. The irony in the movie is for every digital answer to streamlining services or bolstering conveniences, a little privacy is eroded each time. Pretty soon, if one shares enough information, the idea of privacy is extinct. Privacy was central to the plot, but it just wasn't handled in the most effective way. Concepts such as "off the grid," self-proclaimed "celebrity," and "calls to action" are displayed and discussed in the film, connecting this augmented reality to real-world issues each of us encounter or think about. One particularly interesting theme in the movie is deep friendship. Unfortunately, this was not fully fleshed as is the case with most of the movie; but still, it does get touched upon.

If you were hoping for another film like the brilliant Social Network, then you will undoubtedly be disappointed. Films such as The Circle should be memorable, but unfortunately this one is very much forgettable. Coincidentally, the movie itself is as hollow as the plot and characters.

Written by R.L. Terry

Edited by J.M. Wead


88 of 147 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 452 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed