The Circle

Released 04/28/2017                              Rated: PG-13

I wanted to see this movie when it came out, but when we heard the bad reviews we didn’t try so hard. I don’t even think it was out in theaters for very long, which is a testament to a lack of attendance, not necessarily how bad it is. Well I finally saw it. And yeah, it wasn’t great. I even watched it again after reading the book. Better now that I understand what’s going on, but still not great.

Mae gets hired at an innovative tech company as a customer experience rep. The Circle is a universal operating system linking all of a user’s social media accounts into a single identity. From the trailer I expected Mae to get hired, she integrates into the community that is The Circle, realizes this new tech will invade people’s privacy, and then goes about trying to either make this knowledge public or get out all together. But no, this doesn’t happen. She just goes along with it. She even becomes the poster-child for it.

My take away as I was watching it was how throwing ourselves into the public eye and becoming a social-media celebrity has a negative effect on our personal lives. One could also take away how we’re different people we’re being watched or “on”; maybe our “better” selves, but not necessarily our “true” selves. Or that not everyone needs to document every second of their day, or that privacy has value, or that introverts exist. As social media continues to evolve now we, the general public, are posting our opinions and pictures and videos all over the place. We live our lives behind a screen instead of simply experiencing it. “Hey, instead of enjoying this moment, let’s take pictures.” (- Jim Gaffigan MR. UNIVERSE) But the movie doesn’t explore any of those aspects. It barely touches on them.

It starts setting things up, but then doesn’t follow through on any of it. I kept waiting for something–anything!–to happen and it never does. There’s no real villain, no conflict, no contradicting views to what it’s proposing, no hurdle for Mae to get over. This movie is bland. I don’t even want to mark it as a thriller, because it’s not. That would require opposition! There is one action sequence; one intense moment…and then it’s gone. Nothing even comes of it. All of a sudden Mae and Ty spill some secrets we didn’t even know were there and then the movie ends. It doesn’t make sense.

So I didn’t like the movie. I liked the book even less. Mae is not a good character in the book. She doesn’t listen to Mercer or her parents, gets far too absorbed into the social media and her “ranking,” and becomes less and less human as the book goes on. In the movie she understands that Mercer doesn’t want to be found and tries to dissuade them from choosing him in the Soul Search presentation. Personally, I want to know who’s the brilliant idiot who flew the drone into Mercer’s line of sight which caused him to drive over the bridge.

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