The Circle is a 2017 thriller movie written and directed by James Ponsoldt, starring Emma Watson (as Mae Holland), Tom Hanks (Eamon Bailey), John Boyega (Kalden) and Karen Gillan (Annie Allerton). This is the movie adaptation of the sci-fi novel The Circle by Dave Eggers, written in 2013.
The Circle introduces us to Mae Holland, a young girl employed in the call center of a water company.
Receiving a call from her friend Annie, she is given the opportunity to attend an interview at the huge technology and social media company The Circle.
Mae, excited, attends the interview. She conducts it brilliantly, and she is hired.
The company comes across as cutting-edge, with a friendly, youthful company culture. The buildings are organized like a campus, where you can participate in sports, group parties and more.
Mae’s work is constantly monitored and evaluated, with a very quick feedback.
Soon enough, Mae attends a conference where Bailey, the CEO of The Circle, reveals the creation of the so-called Circle Video Delivery: an ultra-high-definition camera with the size of a walnut that can be used anywhere and is described as a breakthrough for humanity. According to Bailey, in fact, the more people are able to observe the world, the more general knowledge increases, fighting against corrupt politics and empowering citizens to live in a free country.
This initially doesn’t affect Mae’s life in any way. But soon, the corporate politics starts to mix with her life, slowly destroying all forms of her privacy, throwing her into a difficult and exasperating situation.
At the beginning of the movie, I was impressed by how easy the scene presented was to understand: a girl with healthy aspirations, hindered by family problems and the now obvious to all difficulties of finding work in the new century.
All of this is well maintained going forward, when Mae gets the job at The Circle.
A breathtaking first entrance in the company, a sense of fear of losing the new job, a feeling of loss.
You soon realizes, however, that the youthful atmospheres and techno soundtracks are hiding something out of place, namely the goals of The Circle. And it’s when you realize what Mae has gotten herself into that the introductory phase gives way to a growing feeling of anxiety and oppression as you continue through the movie.
One thing that particularly struck me, partly because of Emma Watson and her fantastic expressions of pure perplexity, and partly because of the setting of the story, is that Mae’s character doesn’t immediately decide to retrace her steps despite realizing the unethical goals of the company.
Mae values her job for reasons that are easily understood, silently enduring pressure and striving to maintain her position.
Instead, it is common in other works of fiction that, the moment a character finds strangeness in the company in which he works, he immediately decides to go against it in one way or another.
A realistic narrative choice, I’ll say.
The theme of the invasiveness of social media and how people’s privacy is slowly slipping out of hand is a classic and is obviously very credible in the course of the work: missing people who are found in a flash, people become internet stars overnight, etc. etc..
However, I feel that the movie suffers from two important problems.
The first is that the stakes are elevated too much, too abruptly.
The company The Circle is introduced as important and prominent, but nothing more. It soon goes from talking about a new technology to revolutionizing the whole of America and its political system.
The second, perhaps fault of a mediocre acting, are the sometimes wooden and cumbersome dialogues, not incisive enough.
All this has sometimes distracted me from the movie, or confused me about the unfolding of events.
An alright movie, with interesting themes, quite fresh, probably not so different from others in the genre. Final Rating: