‘The Circle’ heads for downward spiral

“Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better” is the name of “The Circle” game. However, I could have lived my whole life without knowing what a boring and predictable film this was by some incredible actors.

This two-hour film is based on Dave Egger’s novel of the same name and like the sad son of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.” Set in San Francisco, Mae Holland (Emma Watson) scores a once-in-a-lifetime job in customer experience at “The Circle,” the biggest social media savvy company in the world. It doesn’t take long to realize there are many ethical and privacy issues with this company- they send employees to implement half-dollar size cameras (called SeeChange) around the world without the people knowing where the cameras are located.

As Holland escalates up the company’s social and business ladder, so does her enthusiasm to eliminate privacy. Watson does a wonderful job performing her character’s change – going from an enigmatic “guppy” on campus to a household name around the world by volunteering to go “transparent:” People around the world may watch her life through SeeChange pinned on her shirt.

Her development is evident through her willingness to get involved with the company, even though it starts to negatively affect her parents and close friend / ex-boyfriend Mercer (Ellar Coltrane). It doesn’t take much to figure out that Holland is the one who not only creates a big problem, but is the one to try to fix it.

A big problem with the film for me was reading small text. Comments from viewers continuously pop up as Holland’s life is projected through the lens, which was distracting and frustrating. Once I focused on one comment, I couldn’t read it because either the camera changed frames, the comment went away or they were in a different language.

The ending was abrupt and confusing with no clarity of what happened to “The Circle” or Holland’s career. It felt as if they director only had five minutes to resolve the issue and didn’t know what to do, so he put a video of Holland kayaking. I left the theater unimpressed by the lack of closure and had more questions at the end of the movie than the beginning.

Sharing isn’t always caring. Knowledge is not always power. And I don’t think “Big Brother” would bother to watch this film.


Julia Maldonado can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.