The crowd sat stagnant, unmoving and unphased by the list of actors and producers that had abruptly cut the movie, prematurely ending their journey within the utopia that had been haphazardly crafted by the writer and directors of the movie “The Circle”. The moviegoers sat in their seats, awaiting a resolution. But in order for a storyline to come to a true ending, there has to be an actual storyline. This movie did not have either.
The movie follows the life of a young Mae Holland, played by Emma Watson, who is most well known for her role in the hit crime drama “The Bling Ring,” as she does her best to transition from the small town girl working a small town job with her small town family and friends, to a big time girl working for the greatest corporation on Earth, the Circle. The Circle is a company who has combined all internet profiles into one expansive profile, thus ending identity theft and the inconvenience of needing multiple accounts for everything.
The fact that the producers failed so miserably to capitalize on this marvelous idea is especially ironic — as the main character, Mae Holland (Emma Watson), stated in her job interview at the beginning of the movie, her greatest fear is “unfulfilled potential,” a phrase that seems especially apt when describing the movie.
In reality, the movie was not all bad. Up until the last hour and a half, the story progressed quite well, with a surplus of potential storylines and a multitude of provoking characters. The acting was well done with Watson and Tom Hanks both delivering strong performances. Additionally, directors Jason Ponsoldt and Sheldon Schwartz did phenomenal jobs in establishing a given world for the film. The chaotic and bustling world of Silicon Valley was perfectly encompassed, and the viewer could easily identify clear parallels between Google and the film’s fictitious “Circle.” Glass envelops every building on Circle’s campus, and employees are seen wandering the campus grounds of lush greenery on their multicolored cruiser bicycles, much like the companies in the Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, the film was plagued by too many major shortcomings that make this film a hard sell.
The main reasons the film struggled to impress its audience stemmed from a lack of development with its characters and commitment to a singular plot line. Throughout the course of the film, it was never quite clear what the actual goals of the protagonist or even the antagonists were. At one point, it seemed as though the protagonist was trying to expand the power of the company and incorporate the entirety of the world with the Circle’s all-expansive technology. Then, only moments later, she was plotting for the Circle’s downfall with an ingenious plan — wait, nevermind, she’s back at it again with the world domination stuff.
The movie had the opportunity to be awe-inspiring, but in the end, it left the audience with an intense feeling of dissatisfaction. It was hard to empathize with and root for a specific character, and distinguish which characters were important in the storyline.
In addition to the failure to combine the multiple fragments of success into a coherent flick, the overall movie was carried out poorly. The dialogue was unrealistic and unbearably cheesy to listen to. The clear lack of care for details was appalling. One case of poor attention to detail was with Mae’s car. Throughout the movie, she consistently drove a ratty old car, but one time, in the middle of the movie, she drove a brand new looking red car (which one could argue is symbolic, but it just didn’t make much sense).
All in all, the flick had the makings of a movie deserving of a best picture nomination, including, but not limited to, a superstar lead in Watson and a topic in which there is so much to say. However, it was unable to piece out a remotely watchable movie, and ended up with a maundering tale, which is better suited for a middle school film festival than the box office.