This past Sunday was mother’s day, as my mom and I are avid movie goers what better way to spend some time together then at the movies?! We opted for the movie, The Circle (click HERE for the trailer). We both thought it looked interested and believed it won’t be as packed as Snatched, which was our other movie option. The Circle hit theaters on April 28th and as we expected the movie theater was not packed with people as there have been a few weeks now to see this movie. This movie, like many others is an adaptation to the book, written by Dave Eggers. I have not read the book so I cannot make any comparisons. My thoughts and opinions come from my take on the movie with only the knowledge of what I saw in the trailer.
Recap of the Movie
We start off right away meeting Mae played by Emma Watson who seems to live a dreary and boring life filled with family struggles. Then something happens, Mae lands the dream job working at one of the most powerful tech and social media companies – not only does working there sound great but it seems the pay and benefits are incredible too. The company is the Circle, which is run by the founded Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) who we briefly meet early on. At the beginning Mae is very apprehensive about joining in and believe everything that the Circle says they stand for and want to provide. As the movie continues there is a turning point where with the encouragement of Eamon, Mae takes on an experimental project to be as transparent as possible. That was just the start of Mae becoming believe/joiner, as the movie continues she continues to develop and is seen as the symbol of what the Circle is and stands for in a sense. However, there is another turning point do to a tragedy that is out of Mae’s hands to an extent. It was then that Mae truly sees that the choices she is making are not only affecting her but also those around her and that of the company. Now Mae has the decision, does she continue down the path of believe everything the Circle says they stand for, or dig a little deeper and expose what is truly going on?
What I Thought
For starters, I am a huge fan of Emma Watson, so I loved seeing her in this movie. I thought it was a very raw, normal, and natural character for her to play. Which is something different as she is best known for playing Hermione Granger, teenage witch from Harry Potter and as being Belle, a Disney princess from Beauty and the Beast – neither are very “normal”. As for Tom Hanks, he is a class’s Hollywood actor who will always have a special place in my heart. It was hard to watch him portray the villain in sorts during this movie. Though, I think overall he did a decent job portraying the bad guy who is up to no good and thinks he is untouchable – remember, he is the founder of this very powerful technology and social media company! Eamon’s most memorable quote throughout the movie that captures the essence of what the company stands for is, “knowing is good, but knowing everything is better.” Of course there were other characters in the movie, however Mae and Eamon were the main two. There were 5 supporting characters that appeared often in the movie are all connected to Mae; Mae’s parents Bonnie and Vinnie Holland (Glenne Headly and Bill Paxton), Mae’s longtime neighborhood friend Mercer (Ellar Coltrane), Mae’s friend who got her the interview at the Circle Annie (Karen Gillan), and Ty (John Boyega) who is one of the only new characters that Mae meets and forms a connection with at the Circle. These characters also end up having connections to Eamon and the Circle throughout the movie – it’s very complex.
Going into the movie, I understood it was supposed to be a futuristic techno-thriller movie; what that meant to me was a thriller surrounding technology that was set in the future. I thought the movie was less of a thriller and more of a drama and being set in the future was missed, the movie felt very present and realistic. That was a scary thought because weather intended or not, it seemed like the underlying message of the movie was ‘the future is now.’ There were many scenes in the movie where I could recall similar instances happening, for example at one point everyone who works at the circle was gathered for a presentation in an auditorium but instead of just listening and interacting, you see many people holding their phones or ipads up and recording it and not truly being present. This happens far too often, I have done it at concerts because I want the moment to last. But the thing I have learned is that you miss out on the moment and that whatever you capture never lives up to what actually occurred live, in the moment. There were many instances in the movie where there were parallels like this, which made some of the more drastic technology and social media uses in the movie all that more scary. It would not take much for what was occurring and being discussed in the movie to occur now, or tomorrow.
The movie really “hit home” so to say, for me as it was set in America at one point there was discussion on how social media can and could play a role in politics. As an American with a new president who uses social media actively topics of this nature are already being discussed. To my knowledge not in the way in which it is in the movie, but it did make you think if that is where our country could one day end up. Some of the technology that was used through out the movie are things we use now or just 1 step further. However, there were some technology and social media uses that we aren’t currently using that appeared in the movie. Within the last year there have been more discussions on technology including; is technology good or bad, is there such a thing as too much technology use and is technology taking away from our interactions with others. All of these were covered throughout the movie, but not in an in your face kind of way. They were all subtle messages and I found it was we were seeing the answers to those questions right before our eyes.
Overall, the movie was good, but it kind of hit the mark that I was expecting. I was truly hoping for a thriller, though I enjoy movies that make you think so I did enjoy this. The ending to me was the roughest part of the movie as I thought it just abruptly stopped and that there should have been further explanations as to the outcome of what just occurred in the last few scenes. Though I didn’t love the ending, it did leave me walking away asking questions about what happened to certain characters, and the circle – so I guess the ending was indeed true to the movie. it was though provoking through and through. I would love to hear what others thought of this movie and what thoughts you were left with. Let me know in the comments section!