5.3/10
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454 user 242 critic

The Circle (2017)

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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 »
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Popularity
1,063 ( 70)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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
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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:

Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better. 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 »
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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Melinda's Song See more »

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the beginning of the movie Mae's ringtone plays "Simple Gifts". The mid-1800s Quaker song lyrics start, "'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free." Toward the end of the movie her ringtone has changed to a simple chime. See more »

Goofs

Mae is well versed in digital tech, yet, @ 40:06 she takes a picture of her screen with a cell, when a screen shot would be just as quick, and give better resolution. See more »

Quotes

Annie: They ask for forgiveness but never permission.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Soylent Green (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Farewell Transmission
Written by Jason Molina
Performed by Songs: Ohia
Courtesy of Secretly Canadian
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User Reviews

It'll make you think long and hard about how much to put on FACEBOOK!!!
4 May 2017 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"Knowing is good, but knowing everything is better." Bailey (Tom Hanks)

How much information is too much? The Circle shows in a direct and melodramatic form that the saturation point is here. Mae (Emma Watson) is hired by a tech-centered firm, an amalgam of Apple, Facebook, and the CIA. Their inclusion-full-knowledge mantra culminates in Mae's agreeing to have complete transparency, a Truman Show for our time.

Bailey is the Steve-Jobs guru, whose weekly assembly for the campus is a model of group think and cultism, launching from the newest technology to the newest invasion of privacy. The willingness of the audience to embrace everything from the unethical farming of information to his obviously self-serving anecdotes suggests Jim-Jones cool-aid-audience imbibing.

The film is an attention-getting, absorbing object lesson in neglecting critical thinking.

The film's provocative theme about full disclosure includes the implied dialectic between the common good and privacy. Knowing where criminals are, such as in our sex-offender laws, is good in the case of creeps but scary when innocent citizens are the object.

Two incidents close to the protagonist illustrate the effects of private invasion, one for survival, the other for denying the efficacy. The former is about saving Mae from drowning because of surveillance and the other about the world seeing her aging parents having sex. No one could wish not to have life-saving surveillance; no one could want parental transparency 24/7.

The Circle is frequently simplistic, e.g., having records that allow automatic registration for voting but also require voting, ignores invasion of privacy and personal choice.

None of this polemic completely negates the efficacy of social media and constant contact. However, transparency, the film suggests, invades and makes circus-like a privacy our Constitution implies.

The camera spends too much time on Mae's bland, wondering stare and meaningless conversations that would be better spent arguing the mission of the Circle. At least it's a start toward better regulation of social information both public and private.


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