Sometimes, it feels like social media is running our lives. Open your eyes wide enough and far enough away from your smartphone and you’ll realize the rest of the population is just as imprisoned in social media as you are, which is ultimately where The Circle comes in. The Circle is a type of fictional social media platform similar to Facebook, in which they are always attempting to do something new and revolutionary – the question that remains is simply this: how far can revolutionary advancements go before they’re seen as too much on a scale we never really thought about before. People are always more worried about what we can do, and not so much about why we should or should not do those things.
“When Mae is hired to work for the world’s largest and most powerful tech and social media company, she sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company’s founder, Eamon Bailey, to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes, begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.” – IMDb
I wasn’t sure on what to expect when it came to this film. I knew that it had Emma Watson and Tom Hanks in the cast, but little else. A few of my friends would often say they were anticipating this film as if it was going to be really intense, but even so…I can’t really say there has been much hype surrounding this film. Even so, I still decided to watch it, and I gotta say, it isn’t all that special, is it? It asks some really important questions surrounding ethics, privacy, and the limits that some people are willing to go, but I have seen very similar story concepts from other films that were indeed done better than this, but I digress. These were all simply first impressions, so how does the film do other than that? To answer that, we’ll break it all down and interpret the stars for The Circle.
PEOPLE SCORE – 4/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 0
It’s never good to see a main category like “people” get such a low score like this. That’s mostly because nothing really speaks to the audience regarding the characters in this film, and that’s too bad. While I think all of the actors are indeed wonderful actors, nothing really demanded their ability to perform, instead, they mostly give off the same performance from beginning to end. I am also left considering the characters themselves to be rather forgettable. It’s a movie that you’ll remember more for the concept than characters, which obviously means anyone could’ve ultimately played these parts. For all I know, that’s what the movie needed in order to make this category score higher. As far as importance goes, I’m left in awe as for how confusing that is. You have people like John Boyega who seemingly will play an important part, and he’s sidelined for like, 90% of the movie…why? This ultimately also affected their ability to have good chemistry, because no one really had any…boy oh boy.
WRITING SCORE – 8/10
Dialogue – 1|Balance – 1|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
The writing category did a little better overall, as that’s where most of the concept lies, and you do remember the film for the concept, which sort of combines social media to cultism, which is ultimately pretty original and interesting. Even though Tom Hanks has a few minutes as a public speaker, nothing in this film really screams importance for the dialogue, it’s just more of a gimmick than anything else. As far as balance, I consider this a really strange paced film, and that’s mostly because of how they introduce characters that quickly vanish for long periods of time, and for no real reason – it’s frustrating.
BTS SCORE – 6/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1
For the most part, it was a disappointing score for behind-the-scenes as well. From what I could tell, it got the same score as you’d normally find in a basic comedy film that doesn’t focus on these elements, except, it’s not a comedy. Drama/Thriller films like this really do need to step it up in this area. Nothing really stood out for anything. While it was as-advertised, nothing stood out for the visuals, the directing and editing was mediocre and uninspired, and the music was just good enough to make sense for the tone of the film, nothing else. This mostly goes by unnoticed.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 7/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 1|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 0
Alright, so the narrative arc in The Circle was interesting for doing things differently, but I’m not entirely sure why. The introduction was fine, it got us acquainted to Emma Watson’s main character and her parents (rest in peace to both of those actors). The inciting incident wasn’t evidently clear, though. I would say it was when she was hired into The Circle, but it’s not like she can’t turn back from that. It can’t really be when she becomes transparent because of the same reason. Something major happens later on, but it is MUCH too late to be an inciting incident, so I’d say that has more to do with obstacles, and there was enough of those. The climax was a pretty decent culmination of everything leading up to that point, but there is no real falling action or returning to a new norm. So take that as you will.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 3/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 1|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks you in – 1
For the most part, The Circle is a little more boring than you might initially suspect. I think it’s rewatchable to check it out if it’s on TV some day, but I don’t see a lot of people specifically going out to find the movie and see it again. Parts of it are definitely fun to watch, but like I said, there’s an overwhelming sensation that it’s more boring than it needs to be, which means this doesn’t get full points, either. I have no impulse to talk about it, buy it, or even own it. Does it suck you in? In parts, like I said, you do wanna see how it all ends up, even if you are confused by the pacing.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 40/50
Drama – 10|Emma Watson – 5|Tom Hanks – 5|Sci-Fi – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
Now for the five questions that I wrote before seeing the film. It is listed under drama and sci-fi, so how were those for the genre-specific requirements? Honestly, those were done really well. It definitely is a very dramatic film, sometimes more than it needs to be, and the science fiction element specifically is very, very believable, just hasn’t happened yet. Maybe in the very near future, and that’s a scary thought. How were the two “leads” that you see on the poster? Well, Emma Watson has been in a million of other better films, and nothing about this film screams the best Emma Watson movie, and honestly, the same goes for Tom Hanks. Even more so because he’s hardly in it. Finally was it halfway decent? Hard to tell on this one, but I think, for the most part, it achieved what it was trying to do, so I have to give it kudos for that and say yes, halfway decent indeed.