The Circle (2017) Poster

(I) (2017)

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3/10
Hollywood, please, give real screenwriters a chance!
12_Monkeys14 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
One would think that a top notch producer-duo like Anthony Bregman and Gary Goetzman, an amazing cinematographer like Matthew Libatique, an unbelievable composer like Danny Elfman, two talented editors like Lisa Lassek and Franklin Peterson, and incredible actors like Tom Hanks and Emma Watson would guarantee a great film, right? -- Wrong... this is why the screenplay is so important. To be completely fair, I haven't read David Eggers' novel, so I don't know if it's good or not, but if we base that judgement on the film, it sure as hell doesn't seem like it.

Why is the script so poorly written? The first big problem is that we don't know our protagonist's intent or obstacle. We have no idea what she wants, what she's doing to get it, or what stands in her way. This is at the top of every screen writing seminar, course, book, or principle list that you can find. If this is not clear within the first 10 to 12 pages of your script, then don't even bother filming it.

We do know that she dislikes her job and that she has a sick father whom she loves. But she's not doing anything to help her dad, and she's not looking for a different job either. She does go kayaking though, so... good for her! The job offer (inciting incident) that gets her to embark onto a promised adventure, comes in a phone call from a friend. A phone call that takes our protagonist by surprise. So, to make matters even worse, our main character is completely reactive. Things happen to her, she doesn't make them happen, which makes her dull and boring -- Something one would think could be a big decision-changer for actors like Emma Watson to accept a role in a film at this point of her career. But hey, maybe not! Our protagonist agrees to the interview (a very weird one that includes picking between her favorite Beatle and reacting to an inappropriate invitation to go out with her interviewer) and she gets the job! And now we embark onto the adventure.

At first, everything is very expository. Tom Hanks' character is introduced as a quite literal Steve Jobs-like company manager, who believes in technology's power to help us know everything about everyone in the world, basically. Then, an opportunity to help her father reveals to our protagonist by, again, the same friend who offered her the interview in the first place. So, our protagonist is yet again reacting to what is happening to her.

To make matters worse, what pushes her (very late so) to make her first big decision, is that she inadvertently decides to take a kayaking trip in the middle of the night, and go sailing onto the darkness with no life-vest (or even a flashlight for that matter), for a ridiculous nocturnal, meditative promenade (because, you know, YOLO). This really bizarre, nonsensical decision is what propels her to take action with Tom Hanks' character and take an active part of the all-time-surveilling-technology of the Circle. Then the story turns into a modern era "Truman Show" without the innovative factor of reality television, and with an improbable audience who is all-love-and-no-hate for our always innocent Mae Holland. (Seriously, this Utopia world presents no haters in the social media.) The technology gets so big, they challenge themselves to find any person in the world, with the help of their hundreds of millions of subscribers. The first person they challenge their users to find is an outlaw murderer woman. She is found within 10 minutes, and guess what? These hundreds of millions of users find her without a shred of mistakes. No one mistakes another woman for her, there are no complications, and her capture is done by a police officer with calm and accuracy. Let us just say that plausibility is not this film's strongest suit.

The next person they challenge their users to find is an ordinary person who's not a part of the Circle's network, and who's a former friend of our protagonist. What happens next is simply too stupid to face, because people actually chase for this guy down a highway in the mountains and get him killed in live-feed broadcasting. And what's even worse: there are no consequences to his death. Instead, what happens is that Mae finally "opens her eyes" to the fact that what the Circle is doing is wrong (duh!) and that violating people's privacy could get them killed (oops!). And so, she designs a trap to expose the people behind the Circle and their true intentions (evil laugh). And guess what? SHE DOES IT! She exposes them, all their conversations, their plans, all their private correspondence, all of it! And do you know what they were hiding? -- Neither do I, because the screenwriter forgot to tell us, I guess... Or maybe he did write it but the editor cut that part out... or maybe the director forgot to film that part... or maybe it's not even in the original novel... who knows? And at this point, frankly my dear... who gives a damn? Yes, the antagonist played by Tom Hanks is a uni-dimensional character who we pretty much know nothing about. He has no intent either, no obstacles along the way, and no clear agenda at all. How they got Tom Hanks to act in this film, is just a complete mystery.

The end of the film is as nonsensical as the rest of it. Mae goes on yet another one of her kayaking sails -- but wait a minute, this time she's not alone. She's surrounded by drones who are watching "over" her... because, you know, that is what this was all about...

Please, please, Tom, Emma, Anthony, Gary, Danny, Matthew, Hollywood, the studios, THE AUDIENCE... give some real screenwriter a chance. We promise, we won't let you down.

Cheers from Mexico.

Sincerely, Carlos Algara
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4/10
Good concept. Bad execution
foghorn_clj15 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I was really looking forward to seeing this when it popped up on my streaming service. Such an interesting concept (how technological advancement will effect humanity) and a good cast.

One problem. The plot was grossly under developed and the ending was weak and predictable. First big issue, the main character seems to have a complete 180 on her beliefs halfway through the movie without a plausible reason (honestly I was waiting for her to have been drugged or something).

Second big issue, you don't understand what the bad guys motivation is. Are they die hard believers? Are they just doing it for money and power? And how are they so ridiculously stupid that they'd allow themselves to be taken down so easily?!

Now the sneaky thing about this film is that they develop the plot JUST ENOUGH that the story will keep you engaged the entire time (and these days that's rare).

Problem is that if you were looking for something a little deeper and philosophical on such a complex and important topic you would walk away feeling unsatisfied.
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3/10
Shallow, predictable, and patronising
elliest_530 July 2017
What a monumental waste of A-class actors!

On paper, this film ticks all the right boxes: topical sci-fi, great actors in fitting roles, plot ingredients that should create great suspense...and yet, it completely fails to deliver at all levels.

I wanted to like this film, so I ignored the first few warning signs: the characters start off a bit one-dimensional, a slightly uninspired representation of Google/Facebook/Amazon-ehm I mean-"The Circle's" headquarters...But then came a couple of scenes that could (no exaggeration) be right out of a CollegeHumor parody video - except they were meant to be serious- and I knew something had gone really wrong with the script and direction.

15-20 minutes into the film everything becomes completely predictable. There isn't a single moment that has you on edge or wondering what's coming next, because everything is as blatant and simplistic as it could be. There's nothing novel about any of the characters or the major plot points. What is worse, the script just can't stop preaching:

"losing all our privacy is bad...mmkay?"

"big corporations shouldn't spy on us all the time...mmkay?"

"sacrificing your personal life in the name of a morally dubious career can have regrettable repercussions...mmkay?"

-NO SH!T movie! Thanks for letting us know, because, you know, we didn't have to write enough 10th grade essays about these things!

Bottom line: I know it's tempting, but don't watch unless you have time to waste. It's not even "so-bad-it's-good" bad, it's just incredibly dull.
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8/10
Sharing is not Caring...
mark-951-33763030 July 2017
I watched this film without reading a single review; my 14 year old son and I watched the trailer, thought it looked cool and watched it. Now I'm reading many poor reviews and wondering why?

This film won't set your world on fire or win an Oscar for best actress etc, but the message is compelling.

Taking a spin on how much data we give away to companies like Google, Amazon or Apple, The Circle focuses on privacy and our right to it, or lack of rights to it, in modern society.

The interesting take from this is that my children and I have differing views on the value of sharing on social media; after watching the film the 14 year old was a lot more aware of the issues around making our lives so public.

This film doesn't deserve an Oscar, but it does deserve better reviews than it has received. Sure, you can pick holes in some of the plot, but its message is strong. It was fantastic to watch Tom Hanks in a role not based on a true story, with a hint of menace to his character. Bill Paxton's final ever role before his sad passing is touching, and Emma Watson was interesting in her portrayal of Mae Holland.

If you're looking for something different to watch, ignore the reviews and give this a go.
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1/10
Terrible. Just plain awful.
johna-9538813 May 2017
Saw this movie yesterday, left very disappointed. I read some of the reviews so I wasn't expecting too much, but it was even worse than I had thought it would be. The writing was utterly terrible, the plot was poorly done, and even the acting was only decent, a surprising result considering the well-known cast. The overall concept of The Circle initially sounds interesting, but when explored in depth and presented through the film, multiple flaws can be found and at times, it almost seems "stupid". As the movie progresses, the main character's choices and actions seem contradictory to how she was introduced, and it becomes hard for the audience to relate to her and put themselves in her shoes. By the end of the movie, it became quite clear that The Circle had hoped to offer some profound social commentary on technology and human behaviour, but ultimately failed to do so by creating such a predictable and "cheesy" film. The dialogue was almost laughable at times, and there wasn't a single character that felt complex or real. While somewhat entertaining due to the futuristic depictions of technology and fast-paced plot, The Circle offers little more than that. Rather than provoke discussion or any deep thoughts after viewing, it leaves you with a large sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction with the way in which the writing and the story were carried out, as well as frustration with the immense amount of plot holes and motive flaws. Overall, The Circle tries to make a name for itself amongst the many "dangers of technology" movies, but as always, lazy writing and a poor and predictable plot can only lead to the disappointing result it ends up being. See The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 instead. Anything else.
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1/10
Heartless movie. Unreal characters, weak story, ridiculous message. Warning: Spoilers
There is a passage in this movie that's so incredibly heartless. It turned an otherwise bad movie into something I can almost consider my enemy.

The passage I speak of is when Mercer (in a totally unrealistic way, but that's beside the point) kills himself by driving off a bridge. Mae is ultimately responsible for that. We see her in bed, being sad for a little while, then she goes back to work for that abomination of a company. Sure, she plots behind the scenes to unmask the guys at the top. But that doesn't make her any less responsible for her best friend's death. Her bosses only pushed her over the edge.

The movie presents Mae as a victim who turns into a victor. As if she somehow avenged her friend's death by unmasking her bosses. It made no sense at all. It was the company itself, the very idea of tracking down people who don't want to be found, coupled with Mae's consent to do something she knew was very wrong, that killed Mercer. A person who can feel guilty would not get anywhere near that company ever again, or burn it to the ground. Mae just looked for someone else to blame, succeeded and shamelessly climbed the ladder "for the greater good".

It sickens me that a soulless character like this is presented as a heroine in a big picture like this. People look up to movie characters, they become role models. This one is going to do some damage.

EDIT: I want to make myself a little more clear. I don't give this movie 1 star because I got nothing from it. On the contrary: this movie made me think, big time. You should definitely go see it to make up your own mind. But I stand behind my judgement. This movie made my heart bleed. The Circle is based on a very real phenomenon, loss of privacy is a real problem coming our way. But the main character does not stand against the tide, she goes with the flow and only speeds things up. Movie characters usually embody ideal behaviour, this one does what most people would do. It's a pretty unique but very irresponsible approach. It will make people feel more powerless than they already are. The movie only presents the problem, without a solution or a true hero to find one. I feel challenged to find the solution in myself, so in that way the movie deserves 10 stars instead of 1. But this is purely my sympathy for the devil speaking. This movie shits on truth. Trust yourself, not the movie, when you see it.
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8/10
Makes you think, but it's not completely memorable
barbagvido10 May 2017
The Circle is a movie based on a novel by Dave Eggers. It stars Emma Watson and Tom Hanks and it's set in a near future where they have this company called The Circle which is pretty much like Google, but even bigger. Emma Watson stars as Mae Holland, a young woman who gets a job in the company, but when she sees what the company really is doing, which side will she take?

I have read the novel and even though it was flawed, it was an interesting read, so I was kinda excited about the movie. The movie isn't perfect, but it's not nearly as bad as everyone says. I didn't find it boring at all, you just need to get invested in the story and know that this is not your typical dystopian story. This really shows what life might be like one day, so not much major events happen. That made it feel a bit more realistic, but it also made it feel a bit forgettable. That's the biggest flaw of this film. It makes quite an impact on you when you finish watching it and you won't be able to stop thinking about it for the next few hours. But that's more because of the message, not because of the movie itself. But that message will get under your skin. You will shiver during some scenes in the second half and especially at the last shot. And the creepiest thing about it is how easily a large percentage of humanity could be tricked by propaganda. That's extremely well shown in Eamon Bailey, the charismatic leader of the organization played by Tom Hanks. He's smart, he's funny, he's down-to-earth, and he's very likable. And that's the scariest thing. He's one of those people who would probably manage to talk you into killing yourself in less than 5 minutes. He's such a charismatic presence and Hanks was the perfect choice for the role. Regardless of his plans for the future, you just can't hate this guy! That's how easily we can be brainwashed and the movie warns us about a lot of things going on in the world right now. When you finish it, you will think a lot about the points this movie made. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I also like how they eliminated some extremely unnecessary subplots from the book and made the story a lot more straightforward without any distractions.

Overall, even though it's not amazing, I recommend this film simply for the message itself. It's really not that bad.
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7/10
Social Media involvement in political manipulation? Don't be ridiculous!
bob-the-movie-man5 November 2017
Set in the near future "The Circle" tells a horror story of the social media age involving an omnipotent American corporate, pitched somewhere between being Facebook-like and Google-like (note, lawyers, I just said "like"!) Emma Watson ("Beauty and the Beast") plays young intern Mae who, partly through the aid of family friend Annie (Karen Gillan, "Guardians of the Galaxy", "Doctor Who") but mostly through her own aptitude, lands a foothold job in customer services for the company. With the lush corporate campus fast becoming home, Mae is quickly singled out as having "executive potential" by the charismatic CEO Bailey (Tom Hanks, "Bridge of Spies") and his more taciturn sidekick Stenton (US comedian Patton Oswalt).

Progressively brainwashed into believing the company's intrusive snooping (a favourite motto is "Secrets are Lies") is all for 'the greater good', Mae champions the cause until a tragedy rocks her world and her company beliefs to the core.

Whenever I watch a film I tend to form my own opinion first before checking out what the 'general public' on IMDb think. In this case, I must confess to being a bit surprised at our divergence of views: a lot of people clearly hated this movie whereas I confess that I found it very entertaining. Certainly with the alleged role of Russia in influencing elections around the world via social media, the film is most certainly topical! Many reviewers seemed quite upset that Watson's character is such a 'doormat', in that her views are so easily manipulated by the corporate machine. But not every woman – as indeed every man – can or should be a Joan of Arc style role model in every film: why should they be?

I actually found her indoctrination into "the Circle way" as quite convincing, especially a creepy scene where two corporate lackies (Cho Smith and Amir Talai) say that they're not checking up on Mae's social life, but…. Watson enjoys extending her post-Potter repertoire well, but the talented John Boyega ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens") is completely wasted in his role as Ty; the Wozniak-like genius behind The Circle's technology. The script gives him very little to do other than stand around and look grumpy.

The film is sad in being the last movie appearance of the great Bill Paxton ("Apollo 13") who plays Mae's sick father and who died of complications following heart surgery two months before the film's release (the film is dedicated "For Bill"). Tragically, Mae's mother in the film, actress Glenn Headly ("Dirty Rotten Scoundrels") also died suddenly at the age of 62, also due to heart problems, a couple of months after the film's release. It's surprising the film doesn't have a "curse of The Circle" tag on it.

The film was directed by James Ponsoldt, who also wrote the screenplay with novel-writer Dave Eggers ("Away We Go"). I particularly liked the on-screen use of captioning (posts) which was reminiscent to me of last year's "Nerve", a B-movie film I rated highly that also had a string social media theme.

While the ending of the film is a bit twee – a movie definition of "being hoisted by your own petard" – it's overall a thought provoking piece sufficiently close to the truth as to where society is going to raise the hairs on your neck.

(For the graphical review, please visit bob-the-movie-man.com or check out One Mann's Movies on Facebook. Thanks.)
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It'll make you think long and hard about how much to put on FACEBOOK!!!
jdesando4 May 2017
"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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6/10
It's the Circle of Politically Dull!
rgkarim29 April 2017
Robbie K back, after being off the grid for a week. Tonight's review is on the latest "dystopian" feature film called The Circle. Former Hermione Granger, and more recently Belle, Emma Watson leads the film as she attempts to take us into the workings of a technological conglomerate who has knowledge as its key principle. Yet the trailers paint a much darker secret hidden in its stony walls, one that promises to be a real nail biter. Will this movie deliver those thrills, or are we stuck with another wash out? I'll do my best to answer that question, so sit back, and please read my latest thoughts.

LIKES:

• Nice tool development • Emma Watson • Culturally Relevant Film • Solid Moral Lesson

Summary: We all know technology is becoming the heart of the world, if not already the heart of this country. And certainly, we all know that these technological marvels often require laborious development and maintenance to get the bugs out. The Circle portrays this very well, helping to develop the very tool that we all love. Throughout the journey, you'll get to see the development of the two-faced beast that is technology, and how it requires tweaking to get just "right". Not the highest selling point for a movie, but pretty cool.

Of course, we all know many are going to go for the lovely Ms. Watson, to support the super actress they adore. Good news, Watson does a solid job holding up most of the movie, as she is primary the only main character of the film. Watson brings her charm to the screen once more, portraying intelligence, fortitude and inspiration in a manner that many will latch on to. Her accent is pretty sound (though it fluctuates at times), but she manages to deliver her lines with a decent balance of emotion, to sell her points… most of the time.

Yet the biggest strength of these movies is how culturally relevant it is to the audience. If you didn't gleam it from the trailers, The Circle is essentially a modernized version of the novel 1984 that once more addresses the issues of control, life sharing, and privacy. The film is certainly very political, but has a number of powerful lessons to teach about the place of technology and how easily it can be twisted. I myself liked the comments from Emma's followers, a fantastic representation of the shallow, superficial, and often selfish focus that the internet provides. The scenes are well developed to deliver the full emotional punch, which while not the most unique, can really shock you to the core at how true it can be.

DISLIKES: • Cheesy acting at times • Other actors diluted • Missed character development • Ignorant/Idiotic moments • Lack of Suspense

Summary: Despite Watson's strong performance, she is involved in some overly cheesy moments. On many of the emotionally heated moments, she loses her balance and stretches into the overdramatic region, losing her accent and dialogue forte in the process. But even her worst acting doesn't hold a candle to some of the supporting characters who give either emotionally dull deliveries or lackluster performances. These moments are noticeable enough to offset the momentum of the movie, and derailing it from the quality the trailers promised.

An even worse quality for me was how the other actors of the star-studded cast were reduced to simplistic roles. Legends like Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt and even the late Bill Paxton are reduced to very linear roles, with little character development or expansion beyond what you've seen in the trailer. With such a strong cast, I can't help but feel disappointed at the missed potential of this movie and how much this all-star cast could have done to amp up the quality of this movie.

Even worse, some of the characters, primarily Emma Watson's character, become so blindly ignorant that the intelligence they worked so hard building is diluted to an idiotic level. As a result, I found myself starting to loathe the character and how 180 they took the character. Yes, I understand the premise behind the movie, but it didn't work for me. Other characters also fell into this mix as well, each built to have this incredible skill that was either not used or rapidly reversed to make the characters seem weak.

Yet the most disappointing aspect of this movie…is the lack of suspense. The trailer made this film out to be a mystery meeting dystopian policing. Not the case at all. The Circle has no mystery, laying all the facts on the table and leaving little to be uncovered. You would think there would be intense moments of espionage, or policing by superiors to build up excitement, right? Sorry, this film doesn't have that either, with the "exciting climax" not showing up until the last twenty minutes of the movie. As such, the movie is pretty dull and lacks the entertainment quality you might have been seeking.

The VERDICT:

The Circle is indeed a "scary" film, but it's mainly due to the reality check provides concerning the dangers technology can provide. This strong message is certainly the strongest aspect of the movie and Emma Watson was a fantastic choice to deliver it. Unfortunately, the weak characters, diluted roles, and lack of suspense took away from the entertainment quality of the movie. Such a dull delivery, leaves me recommending this one for renting at home, or at least recommending you read the book (or books) it is based on.

My scores are:

Drama/Sci-Fi/Thriller: 6.0 Movie Overall: 5.0
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1/10
waste of time
seawright-0738231 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If you are going to pick a lead actress, at least pick one who can act and has depth. I don't care how many movies she's made. IT WAS AWFUL.

And the trailer was definitely misleading as story didn't pan out as someone fighting the system but as someone joining in and egging on the worst instincts in this cult and the public. I guess that does represent much of this world today, but still.

Bad acting, bad writing, bad ending...don't waste your time.
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6/10
Full of endless circular logic and irony
RLTerry128 April 2017
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
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8/10
The Circle - Splash of Reality
Mredman0130 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Kept spoilers 'light' and used only as needed to describe the opinion of the film. This film sticks front-and-center an indisputable fact that technology unchecked can and will go to the extreme. I suspect (unproven) that Ms. Watson signed on to do this film as it holds a moral and carries a social lesson. If you have children, teens, friends oblivious to the fact that the internet and streaming are NOT private, then you must get them to go see this movie - and the social message is the reason why I rate this as an "8".

Leader of the company (Tom Hanks) and Chief Tech Officer (Patton Oswalt) deem everyone except themselves should be transparent, including government. When a political obstacle arises in a Senator, of course they dig up and release the dirt on them found in their 'social sins', then sponsor a candidate that is willing to be transparent in every email, every call, every action, every bill, etc. (Naivety at its best, as no company or government can operate 100% transparent.) In the end, the good persona (Emma Watson) turns the tables on the powerful leaders in front of an audience and makes them susceptible to the very elements they want others subservient to. I don't usually care for Tom Hanks, but he did a good job in this film - with an outstanding low- level "we're f'd" comment once realizing the tables have turned. Ms. Watson continues to grow in her acting skills and shines even brighter than Mr. Hanks in a few scenes (but not overall). Patten Oswalt plays the tough bad-guy in his outstanding short scenes, and fit the role perfectly. The role of John Boyega (as Ty) left a bit to be desired (a 2D character that should have had more depth provided), but liked his acting much better in this film, compared to his role as Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens; he did well.
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6/10
The Circle (2017)
rockman1822 May 2017
I was a big fan of Dave Eggers' A Hologram for the King. It was a fantastic read for enjoyment and to analyze. The film adaptation also did not disappoint. When The Circle was announced as a film I immediately checked out the book. To my disappointment, the film wasn't as interesting an got to bogged down to its technological ventures and wasn't exactly the best read. However, I held out hope that the film would be able to impress, especially with the star studded cast at the helm.

Emma Watson plays Mae Holland an ambitious young customer service rep who joins The Circle, a cutting edge technology based company that seems to be growing at fast pace and changing the future. The thing is, the technological leap of the company leads to massive privacy concerns and the company seems to be capable of more than what initially meets the eye. First off, I will say that the scathing reviews I've seen for the film are somewhat unwarranted, however the film is far from perfect and could have been much better.

The plot may seem like its minimal or nonexistent but this wasn't really my concern. I was more concerned with things being introduced into the film that have no real importance later in the film. John Boyega's character is a glorified cameo that seems to just be there as a big name. In the book the character is mysterious has a much larger effect on Mae's life. The ending of the film leaves much more to be desired; there needed to be more explanation onto what the reveal was and anything about repercussions.

The film is littered with talented people but unfortunately the writing and the structure of the film really lets them down. Its a misfire really, and the film needed to be much better and have a stronger central message. I feel like parts of the film and scenes were left on the cutting room floor. The film isn't exactly terrible but its most certainly unfulfilled and really could have left a stronger impression.

6/10
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6/10
Such incredible potential lost in a mess of editing or lack thereof
Robert_duder30 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Ironically I work for a tech company that if you really bent and twisted could look a little like The Circle only way less evil...I swear... The Circle seems incredibly timely and you know 30 years from now, even as campy as it ended up being, it could be considering a classic ahead of it's time simply because it has such a pertinent message to our world right now. It could be this generations social commentary. Unfortunately for this movie it is completely lost in very poor character development, some really horrid acting and line delivery, a weak and unedited script, a horrible use of star Tom Hanks and forcing Emma Watson to try and hide her British accent meaning she has not enough lines to give her character depth. Even still, for some reason I didn't hate the film. I still found enough about it that I liked. The idea and concept behind The Circle is very believable and the tech they use while it seems a little outlandish is incredibly real. If you stop and think about Facebook/Twitter/Amazon/The Cloud things that connect the entire world, this film is not even remotely far-fetched.

I do believe Emma Watson has it in her to be a star. Fortunately for her Beauty and The Beast and it's 1B+ take will solidify her in Hollywood because it seems everything else she has tried falls flat. I don't think film makers are casting her correctly. She looks through this entire film like she is struggling with hiding her British accent. The dialog is really bad so it hurts her performance even worse. Still I like what they did with it, even if there wasn't enough time to really dig into her. Tom Hanks is the driving star power and is sorrowfully underused. Even still he comes onto screen and makes every scene he's in worthwhile. He's perfect as a low level villain of sorts who is more than close to real life. Ellar Coltrane might be one of the worst performances I've ever seen. Is this guy even an actor? As Watson's childhood best friend and sort of a focal point for Watson's development, he delivers his lines like a terrible Grade School actor. He is absolutely terrible and that is in addition to how bad the dialog is. His chemistry with Watson is literally non-existent. Glenne Headly, the late (amazing) Bill Paxton and Karen Gillan give the three best performances in the film. Paxton who plays Watson's father riddled with MS is fantastic! Similar to Hanks, Patton Oswalt is very underused as Hanks' partner in The Circle. He seems almost to have had his lines removed. And then you have John Boyega (you know the latest star of Star Wars) in an utterly pointless bizarre role where he stands in the back of rooms and looks broody. You would literally think they edited out huge portions of his character making it seem weird and disjointed.

I'm not sure who is responsible for ruining a film with such amazing potential. I know that director and co-writer James Ponsoldt does not have enough experience to handle something of this potential calibre. I would presume that Dave Eggers original novel is much better and I feel like it's probably a lot of editing and cooks in the kitchen that killed this adaptation. I still liked a few performances, I loved the message and working in the tech world for me it really was a little on the scary side. It's worth seeing but probably forgettable but the message behind it will likely cause it to stand the test of time. 6.5/10
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1/10
Bad, bad, bad
jnhjunk13 July 2017
This movie is cheesy in all the wrong ways. The dialogue is just cliché and awful. The acting (aside from Bill Paxton who is only on screen for like 3 mins) is horrendous. I mean some of these people can actually act, but they are either just phoning it in or something else was going on. Either way, this is just complete crap. The story was so ham-fisted and obvious that it just makes you cringe the whole way through. Avoid at all costs.
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8/10
much better than the low rating would suggest
tuzitweety7 May 2017
I just don't get why this movie is getting so many low ratings. I thought it was terrific. The writing was great, the story plausible, and the acting excellent. The story depicts a technological future that is nearly upon us. I almost didn't go see it because of the low rating, but I'm glad I did.
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1/10
Nicely Made but Confused Message Film
louissaphire4 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A "message" film that is confused. Tom hanks is wasted and barely used. The main character, Meg, often does illogical and really stupid things (connect ALL of your personal social media with your work's personal account? No. Go completely transparent so everything u do is record and viewed? No!Involve your close friend and family with this invasion of privacy without asking? NO!) but Meg does dumb stuff like this again and again through out the movie! Then you have it seem like the film's message is a transparent life style is bad! But nope, even though Meg gets her friend killed and alienates her parents, she gets even with her employers for her friends death, then proceeds to continue working for the company(? HOW?) and ends with positive note that privacy is bad!?! Confused? So am I am. Look at all the bad stuff happening because we no longer have the same amount of privacy we used to have! How can some one write an anti privacy film, muddle it til its illogical and confusing - then try to say privacy is bad at the end without laying any real argument? Do not waste your time!
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8/10
Cool Circle!!!
kenburke062730 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Call me the inevitable exception to the rule but I liked Circle. The story is a familiar one - something seems too good to be true, and winds up being so. In this case, it is a business called the Circle that takes intrusive technology to the next level. Miniature cameras are used to let others watch each other twenty-four hours a day, it is as if the whole world has become one big family. At first it seems like an excellent idea – people can be rescued when they otherwise would have died, criminals that had gone "off the grid" can be apprehended, life can be made simpler, more secure. Of course, there is the inevitable down side namely the obliteration of privacy. No matter where you go, you matter what you do, someone-body-thing is always watching you. There is in inevitable argument over how much surveillance is too much, is the security worth the price of freedom. I noticed this movie has received several negative reviews. I will admit this is not a conspiracy high-tech Jason Bourne style movie, there are no international assassins or cold blooded corporate executives trying to rule the world. Rather, the movie asks several questions. Is, say, the internet good or bad? Should we increase our security or put a limit on things. It makes you think.
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9/10
A prime example where the computer age is going.
DarkVulcan297 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
What would be bigger than Twitter and Facebook, the answer is The Circle.

Mae(Emma Watson) gets her dream to work at a popular website known has The Circle. Has she becomes settled in, but soon the dream job becomes more then she bargained for her, When Mae The Circle becomes bigger than her.

Emma Watson gives a terrific performance here, you feel the emotions she gives, and the other part she comes across she is in over her head. Tom Hanks is alright, has kind of The Steve Jobs of The Circle, he doesn't do very much, does shine in the scenes he is in, but leaves more for Watson. Patton Oswalt is also good in a dramatic role. But John Boyega(The Force Awakens) is good too, but I wished the movie could have used him more then they did. But still a good movie, it really makes us think. And also good performance by the late great Bill Paxton, who plays Watson dad.
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6/10
A "Black Mirror" look at the future of the Social Silicon Valley
rgbfoundry-784-44400228 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The main character acting isn't bad. Tom Hanks does a great job at creating a lovable character with no obvious villainous undertones. This goes a long way in expressing the movie's key concept that the radical decay of individual privacy is harmless and well intentioned. Basically, there's no obvious evil force driving the company to take over the world.

Emma Watson's character goes through some character changes that I didn't expect. I thought she did a good job of transitioning through the movie.

John Boyega's character could have been played by anyone else. He brought very little to the role. It's fair to say this is a "time-filler" for him between Star Wars movies. I could imaging them shooting his sequences in less than three days.

Patton Oswalt's role was good. He was the more forceful presence at the company, freeing up Tom Hanks to play the likable visionary.

SPOILER ALERT: Knowing that the table is going to be turned and not seeing the outcome isn't a great way to end a movie. I liked how Emma's character turned the employees' culture of unbridled enthusiasm against the C level executives, but this lacked punch as the only pay-off for the movie.

TAKEAWAY: Like a Black Mirror episode, this movie does a good job of showing how privacy can be (and is being) eroded with the consent of the population. I found the idea that "privacy is greed" to be particularly interesting. The concept and message is loud and clear, but it's a long time to sit for such a minimal payoff.
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7/10
The Circle makes an interesting point despite itself
nkgenovese-728388 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
While it is not the best movie you will see in the theater this year, The Circle makes a pleasant enough afternoon's diversion. The movie follows Emma Watson as Mae Holland, a young woman who gets a job as a customer service rep at the titular Circle, a seeming progressive tech company that if you have seen the trailer you know turns out to have a sinister side.

The film has clearly been edited to remove the darker elements of the book it is based on but that inadvertently proves a strength. The villains are no longer out to take over the world but are now simply corporate suits willfully ignoring the downsides of their new technology in their bid for corporate power. They are friendly faces, perfectly portrayed by Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt, whose pasted-on affability never wavers even when they are doing demonstrably immoral things. They're not monsters, they're just businessmen.

My major complaint with this movie is that Mae's old friend, Mercer, played by Ellar Coltrane seems superfluous. He's just not as good an actor as the rest of the cast and he comes off as a creepy stalker in this interactions with Mae. I know that he is an important character in the book but the conflict he presents, forcing Mae to choose between the Circle and her friends, could have been given to Karen Gillan as Mae's other friend Annie.

As a result, Gillan's character is not given much to do other than a subplot that seems a bit rushed. Also underutilized is John Boyega's potential love interest character. However, despite this, the Circle is an intriguing look at how in business, ruthless acts hide behind a kind smile.
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8/10
it's all ideology after all
jbspanagiotopoulos21 January 2018
I liked it. it stresses something that the bad critics do not seem to value: it is all a matter of ideology, of collective social imaginary. The new religion of political correctness and their fanatic disciples walk hand-in-hand with social media.
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A Techno Thriller Adapted from Novel
MichaelNontonMulu3 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Well, it was a bit of interesting to see this movie. I was thinking that it would be a total thriller from beginning till end. However, it turned out that the movie was more drama than thriller. It was categorized as techno-thriller which I think was a term used to describe a movie where the thriller was more on technology side. Unfortunately, I found that the movie was not having a lot of thrill. There was no mystery that was very intriguing to find out. There was brief moment of suspense before the end, but that was it. The premise of the movie itself was actually very promising. We were put under the impression in the beginning that it would be a very interesting dark mysterious story, but till the very end, it was not that mysterious. I understand that the movie was adapted from a novel titled the same written by Dave Eggers. Based on the very brief synopsis of the novel, I think that the movie would have been better had it been honoring the storyline from the novel as it seemed to be more interesting (the novel itself was having better review than the movie). In term of the characters, I felt that Tom Hanks portrayal of a boss to this very large corporation was very good in the beginning, but not really good at the end. While Emma Watson fresh from her last blockbuster hit Beauty and the Beast was surprisingly good in hiding her British accent. This was also the last movie that Bill Paxton played in. His portrayal of a person having the illness was spot on and made us feel sorry for him. Another one that I think quite stood out was the characters of Annie and Mercer, while the rest did not really gave impressions. Anyway, I think the idea of the story was quite good and up to date and supposed to make us re-think about the privacy issue in social media. So it was rather sad to see the movie did not provide a real spark, apart from the brief part towards the end of it. I cannot say that I totally enjoyed the movie, but neither can I say it was a really bad movie. It was just average for me. If you are looking for some smart techno thriller movie with lots of suspense and thrills plus mysteries, then I think this movie did not really up to that level yet. But if you want to see something different, or maybe want to see Tom Hanks & Emma Watson in the same screen together, I guess you could try and see this one. The choice is yours.
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10/10
Genuinely creepy
Ziggyzorro27 April 2017
Perhaps the most compelling thing about seeing The Circle, is the glow of people checking their phones as soon as the credits rolled. This is going to be a film people claim they understand when they don't even understand the controlled lives they are living.

In all a genuinely creepy film carried by Emma Watson, not something for your average Marvel fan though.
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