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The Circle Movie Review

Reviewed by on Apr 28, 2017
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw the Emma Watson tech thriller The Circle. Will it make you worry about just how much of your personal life the world knows? Check our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

In The Circle, 20-something Mae Holland (Emma Watson) is doing tech temp work and going nowhere. She lives at home with her mom and dad who has severe MS and can’t afford health insurance. It seems as if the good fairy of modern communication comes to her rescue when her bestie Annie (Karen Gillan) gets her an entry-level interview at the huge tech giant The Circle. Will the job be the answer to Mae’s prayers or a descent into a special cyber-hell?

Mae (Emma Watson) hopes she can cut it in her new job.Mae (Emma Watson) hopes she can cut it in her new job.Courtesy of STX Entertainment

Saved From a Desperate Life

Mae (Emma Watson) is a young Silicon Valley woman who can’t get ahead. She’s smart but doing boring temp work while her mom (Glenne Headly) takes care of her MS dad (Bill Paxton in his last screen performance). They can’t afford health insurance. Longtime friend Annie, who works at The Circle, an ultra high tech company, gets Mae an interview and she gets the job in customer service.

Bailey and Tom promote MaeBailey and Tom promote MaeCourtesy of STX Entertainment

Wonderful or Dangerous?

The Circle is housed on a shiny new “campus” where all employees know everything about each other and are more than encouraged to share even more. Cool things like parties with A-list talent impress Mae. She meets Ty (John Boyega), an employee and creator of one of the company’s more popular platforms, who doesn’t seem all that enthusiastic about the Circle’s “programs” and mission. Mae moves into the company’s “dorm”, a posh residence, and marvels at all her good luck.

Ty tells Mae all is not well at The CircleTy tells Mae all is not well at The CircleCourtesy of STX Entertainment

Something is Fishy

Two human resources types confront Mae saying that she isn’t sharing enough, not answering her hundreds of “welcome” e-mails and isn’t into the company’s social media pages. She needs to participate more and come into the office on weekends. (Really?)  Her childhood pal Mercer (Ellar Coltrane) notices that Mae is not herself and he isn’t interested in all the dump-privacy-for-social-media-stardom hype.

Mae with pal AnnieMae with pal AnnieCourtesy of STX Entertainment

Getting With the Program

Mae quickly believes that maybe we would be better off if everyone knew more about each other. With her smart ideas, she comes to the attention of one of the heads of The Circle Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) and his partner Tom Stenton (Patton Oswald). Bailey, who takes the stage at a company-wide idea meeting like Apple’s Steve Jobs, launches a new teeny tiny camera that can be placed just everywhere and costs very little. It will broadcast what it sees in real time to subscribers of The Circle worldwide. Hey, now crooks and terrorists can’t hide but, uh, neither can regular, good people. Creepy. Mae decides to let the world follow her in a daily, 24-hour video blog but her parents bail out when a personal moment of theirs is broadcast.

Bailey (Tom Hanks) hopes Mae will be his new company "star"Bailey (Tom Hanks) hopes Mae will be his new company "star"Courtesy of STX Entertainment

Well-Meaning Disaster

When Mae advertises the cool chandeliers Mercer makes out of deer antlers on the net, he gets more negative than positive responses from animal lovers who think he kills deer for them (deer shed their antlers and he just finds them). Frustrated, he drops out of sight, giving up on old pal Mae. When Mae, now a big company honcho, stages the huntdown of a major felon via Circle members world-wide and the tiny cameras, she and others can see the advantage of the system. But, when the employees decide, “hey, let’s stalk Mercer and drive him out of hiding” things result in tragedy. Will Mae wake up and realize that The Circle is more about world control and profit than helpful social interaction before it’s too late?

Bailey shows The Circle his new tiny cameraBailey shows The Circle his new tiny cameraCourtesy of STX Entertainment

Wrapping Up

Although the questions posed by The Circle are super current and should be asked and discussed (should we keep our privacy or be watched by everyone on the planet in an attempt to be “socially relevant” and more aware?), the “thriller” aspect doesn’t get enough attention. Mae and Ty, the other anti-company worker, are never in real, edge-of-your-seat, exciting danger and they don’t get to interact enough. Mae solves the problem of stopping The Circle and re-working it too easily.

Mae is watched while kayakingMae is watched while kayakingCourtesy of STX Entertainment

Emma Watson is okay in the role but we could have used a wider range of emotions from her. “Star Wars” John Boyega only gets a few scenes in a thankless role that doesn’t involve him enough in the film. Tom Hanks isn’t as convincing as a true “baddie” as he is as his usual everyman hero. .

Circle employees track a killerCircle employees track a killerCourtesy of STX Entertainment

For taking on a real life, serious and growing question (just how “open” and sharing do we really want to be?), we congratulate The Circle (based upon a popular 2013 novel) but for entertainment purposes, the film could have been more exciting. We can go three stars.

The Circle Movie Rating: 3

The Circle Movie PosterThe Circle Movie PosterCourtesy of STX Entertainment

The Circle is in theaters now!


Have Your Say

Now is your chance to sound off on how you feel about posting your life on social media. Do strangers or even friends know too much about you? How much privacy should we give away? Comment below.