The Circle (2017): The Worst Kind of Circle Jerk


“The Circle” is directed by James Ponsoldt who you may know as the director of the 2013 film “The Spectacular Now,” this film stars Emma Watson and Tom Hanks and is about a woman who gets her dream job at a company known as the Circle. This company basically has the same vibe you’d get from companies such as Apple and Google. While this girl is happy about accomplishing the goal of getting to work at the Circle, it turns out that this company has an agenda that would affect the lives of mankind, including people this girl knows.

If you don’t know anything about “The Circle,” let me kick this review off by saying that this movie has been out for a couple of weeks, and I can’t imagine it will be in theaters for much longer. Why is that you ask? Simply, because of all of the statistics it has received. Some examples of this include the fact that it has a 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 5.3/10 on IMDb with average ratings coming in around mostly 5 and 6 out of 10, and it has around an overall estimated rating of 2.5/5 stars on Fandango based on ratings given by a total of 1,606 fans at the time I checked. With this being said, I, being the movie reviewing moron I am, just so happened to watch this film today during a 4:45 showing at the AMC Loews Liberty Tree Mall 20 in Danvers, MA. What did I think about the film? Well… it’s very hard to process and come up with a simple answer to that question. Let’s just start off by saying, it’s not good.

Let’s start off by talking about the main character of the film, Mae Holland. This character is played by Emma Watson, who you may know as Belle from the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” film that just came out, or as Hermione Granger from the “Harry Potter” films. Her character was somewhat admirable at first, but throughout the film she just became extremely off and on in terms of overall likability. Watching her in this film, I could believe everything she was doing, but it didn’t mean I liked everything she was doing.

Next up we’re gonna talk about Tom Hanks, a lot of people consider him to be one of the best, if not the best, people to ever act. How is he in this film? He’s not bad at all, I liked his performance, but his character was not someone I was able to latch onto. I mean, I get it, if you watch the film you’d understand he’s not exactly the nicest dude on the planet, but the motivations of a lot of people here including Hanks’s character seem unbelievably idiotic.

If you have seen the film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” chances are you’d recognize this dude above, John Boyega. He’s in this movie, and after some thinking, one thought went through my mind and that thought was, why was he in this movie? I mean, much like a lot of people in this film this dude gave a good performance, but why did he need to be here? It felt investing at first, but towards the end, having his character in the film felt unneeded. If they cut his screen time a bit towards the end of the movie, the movie would have been a bit better than it was, but it failed to accomplish that task so the movie doesn’t gain any points for reducing John Boyega’s screen time.

The same goes for another character, his name is Mercer and he’s played by Ellar Coltrane. I didn’t care much for his character at the beginning, although he becomes somewhat more interesting towards the conclusion. Although despite my jump in interest towards his character, I didn’t think it was enough for me to fully appreciate him. I mean, I GET why he’s in the movie, but I felt like I didn’t see enough of him or get to know him in a way that makes the character become very fleshed out.

Another character in this movie was played by Patton Oswalt, who you may from various roles such as Spence from “King of Queens,” he also voiced Remy in the 2007 animation “Ratatouille,” and he’s even now got a role on “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return.” The guy has proven himself to be a respectable actor, and that’s how he is in this movie, but there’s only one thing that I’ll truly remember his character for, I won’t go into detail, but he makes this really funny angry face towards the end of this movie, it’s almost like looking at General Krennic from “Rogue One” when he’s having a really frustrating day! I mean, how the f*ck did a movie with such talented actors end up being so bad?

I had a ton of problems with this movie, some were nitpicky, but that’s the person I am, I nitpick, so what? Let’s just get into some of them.

If you notice the two characters above, they were actually in one scene with Mae, the main character of the film, and they were having a conversation. This discussion was about Mae and how she feels about her start at the Circle. When I was watching this conversation unfold, I couldn’t help but think to myself that I was simultaneously watching a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, because that is what the conversation felt like overall, you know if you sometimes watch ‘SNL” you might occasionally come across one sketch that feels awkward and it’s not exactly funny for being awkward. I mean, comedy wasn’t a primary goal for this film to accomplish, but seriously, that conversation felt awkward. Let’s just put it this way, imagine you’re a parent and you go into an R rated movie with your kid for the first time, the kid might be on the younger side, maybe going into their teen years, a sex scene comes up and people are completely naked, with all sorts of realism in tact, chances are that experience might end up being awkward for at least one of you. If the kid were watching a sex scene alone depending on their age, they might feel some awkwardness throughout, but an adult would traditionally be OK. If I watch the scene I brought up originally again as an adult, I’d probably just want to cover my eyes or ears until it’s over.

This isn’t my biggest problem, but another problem I had is that the film overall didn’t really have much of a conflict. I mean, instead of a conflict, we got bits and pieces of a conflict per se, if you… really… want to put it that way, this is very hard to describe. At one point, we’re at a conflict involving security and privacy, at another point we’re at a conflict of voting/getting people on the grid/making everyone have an account under the company shown in the movie, and later we have a conflict of finding criminals. We eventually get back to the first conflict, but it feels like some stuff shown throughout the movie just ends up not mattering much at all. I mean, you get to know the characters better, but it just doesn’t feel like I wasted my time on something worth wasting my time towards.

Also, without spoiling anything, there was a point during one of the speeches during the movie where there was a timer used. From observing the movie hoping to avoid any distractions, I believe I may have noticed a crazy timejump that just came out of nowhere. I have no idea if it was intentional or what. The timer started at 20:00 and stopped at some point between 10-11 minutes. I don’t know the exact number, but if I had to guess, I believe it was 10:27 but I don’t give a s*it about that, much like how I don’t give a s*it about this movie.

Also, I noticed in one shot somewhere in the beginning of the movie that one guy went in front of the camera and it was somewhat distracting. I couldn’t tell if that was an actor or some guy who was supposed to be on set and off camera. It really distracted me. I noticed a blooper like that in “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” but the thing about that movie and this one is that I noticed this myself, so I didn’t mind seeing that little mishap in “Revenge of the Sith,” it kind of annoyed me here though.

Oh, yeah, the movie ends, which brought me some good news and some bad news. Let’s start with the good news first, the good news is, yay! The movie’s over! I don’t have to sit through this lunacy anymore! The bad news is the ending itself. As I am a polite person, I’m not gonna go into detail about it, but I will say that it felt like it lacked a true climax, much like how this movie seemed to lack an overall investing main conflict. I was in the theater with other people, some of whom happened to be related to me, I was almost speechless towards the end as the credits began to pop up. Let me just say, if I was in the theater alone, I probably would have shouted something along the lines of “WHAT THE F*CK?!” at the top of my lungs.

This leads me into one thing that the movie had a rather deep focus on, that is these small cameras. I can’t remember the name of it, or even if it had a name to begin with, but who gives a crap? I don’t want to think about it, my head will explode if I think hard about it and you probably wouldn’t see this review if that happened. These cameras could be placed in random areas and chances are that lots of people wouldn’t notice that. Let’s just say that the camera was around me in the movie theater and I shouted what I could have shouted if I saw this movie alone. Saying that would have probably been really awkward. Also, I saw in one review that this is basically the new “1984.” Now, I never read that book, but all over I hear some people are saying that their lives feel like they are in the book “1984.” I honestly hope this doesn’t become a reality. I HATE being watched. This has nothing to do with the movie itself, although I will say this kind of makes the characters unrelatable based on some actions they take regarding this matter.

By the way, on a rather sad note, Bill Paxton is in this film. I have not had much of a connection to this actor, but I know a lot of people do. I will be honest, I didn’t even realize Paxton was even the character I was watching in this movie. There are times when the movie cuts to segments with him and his wife, and it almost feels like something I should care about, but at times, I just feel like we should just get back to Emma Watson’s character working at the Circle. By the way, RIP Bill.

In the end, you can probably tell I hated this film. I thought it was pretty bad to begin with, but it just tumbles and explodes towards the very end, much like my mind. This film has a somewhat interesting concept and good performances, the execution however is something that really requires severe improvement. The movie made me ask questions, the movie made me think of what would happen if Apple and Google combined into one company, but even with that, I just wanted to run out of the auditorium just to get away from this cinematic excrement. I’m gonna give “The Circle” a 2/10. This movie had potential, but overall, it just ended up being a giant clusterf*ck. The more I think about this movie the worse it gets to tell you the truth. Thanks for reading this review, I just want to let you know that I currently have no idea what I’m gonna see next. I’m thinking “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” “Snatched,” or “The Wall.” I’m willing to bet some of you want me to go see “Alien: Covenant” next weekend, but I think I should wait on that because I haven’t watched any of the “Alien” films, so I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Be sure to stay tuned for more reviews, and also in honor of “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” crushing the box office for yet another weekend, I’ll post a link to my “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” review if you want to read it. Hope you enjoyed this review and look forward to more exciting content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks! Also, f*ck this movie!



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