Student Voice


December 6, 2023




'The Circle' a shining example of stellar cast, idea squandered

May 2, 2017

Mae Holland (Emma Watson) lands the job of a lifetime at the world's most powerful technology and social media company, The Circle. Encouraged by the company's founder (Tom Hanks), Holland joins a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and personal freedom.

With an all-star cast of Watson, Hanks, John Boyega and the late Bill Paxton, this movie has to be a success, right? Yeah, about that… This has to be one of the best examples of having a talented cast and an originally interesting story and doing absolutely nothing with it. “The Circle” had such promise and misses its mark on literally every single level.

To start with the only real positive, the story behind everything is enjoyable. This giant company called The Circle (think a mix of Google and Facebook) is one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world. With its new technological advancements, it has the ability to monitor essentially every aspect of life ranging from monitoring someone’s health to setting up tiny advanced cameras to connect the world to being able to find criminals.

These type of advancements bring about ethical debates of how much monitoring is too much. How much do we need to be online and portray our lives to everyone around us? These ethical and social questions are really good and something I really like because these are real questions that people have to ask themselves.

This really intriguing plot brings me to my first of several issues. They never answer the question of why Hanks and The Circle really want to be so power hungry and control everything. Then in the conclusion, they allude to bad things happening behind the scenes but never once allude to their purpose behind what they have done.

On top of this, there isn’t any real conclusion or completion to the story. Something big happens and then somewhat of a “conflict resolution” brings the movie to a close. I use quotations because it is such a weak conflict and resolution that it makes the movie fall flat.

Now let's talk about the many failures of this film. As hinted at before with its all-star cast, none of them are used well at all, and that can be blamed on the very clunky writing and poor directing. Hanks is one of my favorite actors of all time, and he is very mediocre in this. He really isn’t a huge force in this film because his screen time is not as often as the trailer hinted at. When he is on the screen, he just isn’t given much work with.

The same goes for Watson, who gives the best performance and that isn’t saying too much. Her character really doesn’t have much authority or strength to her to really make you truly invested in her. Boyega’s character is honestly laughable. He is completely wasted, which is such a shame. As for Bill Paxton, I’m sorry this has to be your last movie because you deserved a better sendoff.

To top it all off, there are several more issues that I just don't have the heart or time to discuss. Other than an originally intriguing story that is soon crushed and a mediocre performance by Watson, “The Circle” is all over the place and falls flat.