The Circle

The Circle
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A young tech worker takes a job at a greedy Internet corporation, quickly rises up the company's ranks, and soon finds herself in a perilous situation concerning privacy, surveillance and freedom. She comes to learn that her decisions and actions will have no effect whatsoever.

Title:The Circle
Release Date:April 27, 2017
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Genres:Drama, Thriller, Science Fiction
Production Co.:Likely Story, Playtone, Image Nation
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:James Ponsoldt, Nicolas Duchemin Harvard, Chris O'Hara, Steve Gehrke, Barry L. Caldwell
Writers:, ,
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:technology, video surveillance, company, criminal, smartphone
Alternative Titles:
  • El circulo - [ES]
  • Melinda's Song - [US]
  • Ring - [EE]
  • Krag - [PL]
  • Ha'ma'agal - [IL]
  • El Circulo - [MX]
  • 直播風暴 - [TW]

The Circle Reviews

  • Terrible. Just plain awful.
    by johna-95388 on 13 May 2017

    170 out of 250 people found the following review useful:

    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.

  • Heartless movie. Unreal characters, weak story, ridiculous message.
    by GrandMaesterOfJellyDonuts on 1 June 2017

    120 out of 192 people found the following review useful:

    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.

  • waste of time
    by VES2020 on 31 May 2017

    120 out of 193 people found the following review useful:

    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.

  • Makes you think, but it's not completely memorable
    by barbagvido on 10 May 2017

    105 out of 164 people found the following review useful:

    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.

  • It's the Circle of Politically Dull!
    by rgkarim on 29 April 2017

    56 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

    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.


    • 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

  • The Circle - Splash of Reality
    by Mredman01 on 30 April 2017

    88 out of 153 people found the following review useful:

    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.

  • Full of endless circular logic and irony
    by ( on 28 April 2017

    67 out of 115 people found the following review useful:

    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

  • A Techno Thriller Adapted from Novel
    by mikenontonmulu on 3 May 2017

    45 out of 75 people found the following review useful:

    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.

  • Cool Circle!!!
    by kenburke0627 on 30 April 2017

    74 out of 134 people found the following review useful:

    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.

  • much better than the low rating would suggest
    by tuzitweety on 7 May 2017

    97 out of 180 people found the following review useful:

    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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