Emma Watson and Tom Hanks in "The Circle" Review

Emma Watson in "The Circle"

Emma Watson in "The Circle"

In a world that is conflictingly concerned about personal privacy and connectivity, films and television series love to explore the tug-of-war game. With shows like Person of Interest and Mr. Robot that show the danger that technology can lead too, especially in the wrong hands. The Circle, now playing in theaters, is an effective film with its extreme message and incredible cast performances is sure to be a real eye-opener. 

Adapted from Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel The Circle stars Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast) as a major tech company’s new employee. The company has raised the bar of social networking to a whole new level, surpassing Facebook or Google. The company, called The Circle, is led by its charming founder Eamon Balley, played by the incredible Tom Hanks, and Tom Stenton (Patton Oswalt) his business partner. Emma Watson’s character Mae Holland quickly climbs the corporate ladder after she goes viral when she uses the company’s cool-looking tech and she is pushed into limelight. As the film progresses, Mae’s intention to go above and beyond and commit to the company’s vision of an always-on and always-connected world comes with risks. 

It’s clear who the hero and who the villain are in the film. The company is made to be an evil invader of privacy with a dark secret. Hanks and Oswalt are terrific in their roles as they give their characters depth which will leave the audience conflicted about their need to the test the boundaries of freedom and social responsibility.

Watson is perfect in her role, especially after her massive success in her portrayal of Belle in last month’s Beauty and the Beast. She goes from an overworked, underpaid employee to this strong, confident person who can determine the future of our need for social connectivity. Her character's dramatic growth is shown through her video calls to her family and friends as she tells them the emotion’s she is feeling, making her evolution feel personal, and the fact that she is watched by billions of people with the help of the company’s technology.

Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy) is the standout performer of the film. Gillan’s character experiences one of the major changes in the film as she watches her friend, Mae, go from a nobody to the company’s most critical asset. After that, she goes from being a happy-go-lucky person who loves her job to this over-worked drug addict just to keep up with the massive workload she gets.

John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) doesn’t get must screen time, but when he is on screen he helps the overall growth of Watson’s character as he tells stuff about the company no one is supposed to know about.

The Circle, following in the footsteps of other movies and television shows dealing with the tech privacy issue, achieves its goal with its spectacularly talented cast. Even though the film can predictable at times, it still manages to hold surprises and gives its theme tremendous thought. 

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