The Circle (2017)
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.
“The Circle” is an engaging and thought-provoking film, enhanced by wonderful performances. It stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, and Bill Paxton in, sadly, his last film before he passed away. He plays a girl’s father who is battling muscular dystrophy.
Mae Holland (Watson) lands a solid job following a period of being a temp employee. She now works for The Circle, led by Mr. Bailey (Hanks), whom many consider a visionary. When a few of the employees unofficially interrogate Mae about not being involved in more social events, as well as social media, she is at first a bit put off. But then she gets into the spirit of it and soon allows a “See change” camera to be with her at all times. She wakes up and greets her viewers who make comments to her on social media. Her friend Mercer (Ellar Coltrane) hates the loss of his privacy and they soon grow apart, despite having been friends for many years. Mae finds a similar attitude in Ty (John Boyega from “The Force Awakens”) who works for the company but has serious concerns.
When Mae is interviewed by Mr. Bailey in front of a national audience, she is a big hit and pushes for more “openness” with people. However, when she accidentally airs her parents having sex, they are embarrassed and disconnect the cameras, despite their love for their daughter. But Mae pushes forward, eventually finding a woman that left her three kids to starve in a closet while she went to Spain on vacation. She is located and caught and Mae is even a bigger hit. However, tragedy strikes when Mr. Bailey nearly forces her to try to find her old friend Mercer. It is after this that Mae begins to realize that a balance between privacy and openness is needed. She concocts a brilliant plan to make her point.
It is impossible not to consider the elements of this movie as a real possibility, considering the social media of today and modern technology. Are we pushing it too far, or are we in danger of doing so? Due to a brief sex scene and strong language, we are prevented from awarding the film our Dove Seal. However, this film will spur the viewer to sincerely think about the world in which we live. How many movies do that these days?