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Home Arts & Culture Movie Review: The Circle

by Hope Moural

 

If there’s one thing I know about Tom Hanks, it’s that he is quite the persuasive fella. Alright, so I may not actually know the guy, but you understand what I mean. So in the two hours spent watching the film adaption of Dave Eggers’ book of the same title, The Circle, I thought I knew what to expect: Hanks sways a young woman to do his evil bidding within the tech world and she retaliates as best she can.

Unfortunately, I was wrong and, if I may say, a bit disappointed. Now, I haven’t actually read the novel by Eggers, so I will admit I have nothing to compare the film to, but I do hope that it has more of a storyline than this adaption.

In the film, we see a young woman named Mae (Emma Watson) working at a job she doesn’t enjoy in order to make a living and help out her parents. She then miraculously gets an interview set up by her best friend at a high-level tech company called The Circle (think Google and Facebook combined). After acing the interview, she gets the job and is eventually persuaded by her bosses (Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt) to participant in an experiment that pushes the limits on what is considered private and what is not.

For the most part, this plotline is played out within the first hour of the film, which led me to think that the latter half would be filled with a dramatic and mysterious peak at the very end, except it never got there. I munched on my Sour Patch Kids, anticipating Mae to turn the tables on her bosses who knew everything about her. We even see her make friends with Ty (John Boyega), who is plotting to expose just how much control The Circle has in millions of people’s lives, and I thought “Oh, here we go…” and then there’s nothing.

But don’t write this movie off just yet because it is eerily in tune with the current times.

For instance, there is a scene where two of Mae’s coworkers introduce themselves to her and it gets creepy pretty fast. They proceed to ask her where she was at a certain time, as her log didn’t record her and even ask personal questions about her father (played hauntingly by the late Bill Paxton), who is suffering from multiple sclerosis. It is then that you may find yourself wondering just how much of your own self is displayed to anyone and everyone online.

The film tries to present itself as something that should be highly regarded as a prediction of the future with its cool gadgets and casually dressed CEOs. You also can’t deny the charm of the company culture of The Circle, with its dog yoga and after-work concerts featuring the one and only Beck (yes, I’m serious).

Overall, I will say this: The Circle is not boring, it’s just not as exciting as it could be. However, its relevancy is spot-on, so staying to watch the persuasion tactics of Hanks might just be a good idea, because at the rate that our technology is advancing, this may one day be a possible reality.

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