Review: The Circle

They're watching you.

Mae (Emma Watson) is working at a dead end job she hates when her friend Annie (Karen Gillan) gets her an interview at the internet powerhouse known as The Circle. They're like Google and Apple combined. The longer Mae works there, the more she gets caught up in The Circle's idea of complete transparency and no secrets whatsoever. 

I read the book earlier this year and really enjoyed it, but every single change the film made from the book was for the worse. I knew going in I was going to hate Emma Watson's casting as Mae. I pictured Melonie Diaz when reading the novel, and I knew that Alicia Vikander originally had this role. Both are better choices seeing as Emma always looks like she's thinking really hard about acting, and thus completely misses the mark. Though to be fair, Ellar Coltrane, who plays her friend Mercer (inexplicably changed from her ex boyfriend as he was in the novel) actually ends up being worse. Karen Gillam gives the strongest performance with what little she has. No one else gets the opportunity to emote. They're all in business mode. 

The problem with The Circle is that it removes a lot of what made it interesting. It also changes the ending all together. That's probably the most disappointing part, but I'm not surprised. When I put the book down, I said to myself: "some people are going to hate that." It makes me wonder if the script always had that ending, or if that's something that changed when Watson came on board since she seemingly only wants to play characters that appear a certain way. 

The film also doesn't make Mae's transition from "I like alone time" to corporate transparent spokesperson very believable. Part of it is because Watson can't act, but the rest is because it's rushed. The film removes a subplot from the book where Mae has a hookup post graphic things about their night together online,which is probably one of the biggest cautionary moments she has during her descent. It also removes her relationship with John Boyega's character, who was a mystery in the novel. He gives Mae a fake name and is nearly impossible for her to find. The mystery is removed here and he tells her his real name and what he's about almost immediately. It's a strange decision considering the screenwriters invented drama with Mercer getting death threats instead of simply just getting a ton of emails about his work. Why did we need that? Isn't Mae's drama a bit more important? 

It's funny, Mae says in her job interview that she's most afraid of "unfulfilled potential" and that's exactly what this film is. It had all the tools to be really good. You know, like following the novel and not giving the characters personality transplants. 

Recommended: No

Grade: D

Memorable quote: "We care about everybody you care about." - Bailey (Tom Hanks)

17 comments:

  1. I kind of wanted to watch this but have been hearing a lot of negativity about it. Watson is a one note actress and only excels at a specific kind of film. Might end up skipping this altogether

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    1. I'd suggest reading the book. It's a quick read and far better than the film.

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  2. OMG I cannot believe you took the time to see this...just based on the trailer, I couldn't believe all those A-list actors attached themselves to such a pile of poop.

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    1. The book was good! lol. I didn't pay full price for a ticket so I at least feel better about that.

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  3. I might see this or or I might not. It sounds like a bore. Never read the book first because the movie is almost always worse. I have to laugh at your comments about Watson

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    1. I've been trying for years to like Watson and it just isn't happening.

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  4. It seems like anything with Dave Eggers' name attached, with the exception of Where the Wild Things Are, is going to be mishandled for some reason. I saw the trailer for this and I was like... "eh..."

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    1. I don't really get why that is? The Circle while I was reading it seemed very easy to adapt.

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  5. This is so disappointing and yet not totally surprising. I love Dave Eggers. Loved the book. But Hologram for the King didn't really work out all that well on the big screen either.

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    1. I forgot about that adaptation already. I guess he's not meant for screen.

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  6. "Part of it is because Watson can't act" #SAVAGE

    How was Hanks? Isn't if his first villain role?

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    1. He's okay but he's just kind of being Tom Hanks. I wouldn't really call him a villain. He's just a typical big wig at a huge company.

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  7. Hmmm...I opted for the Lost City of Z instead of seeing this one, and it looks like I *may* have made the right decision. I thought the trailer made it look like one of those late 90s/early 2000s big brother thrillers...and I was okay with that. But with Hanks aboard? I secretly hoped it would be much better.

    Apparently not.

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    1. I hope Lost City of Z was good, that trailer didn't do much for me, but you probably made the right decision. Read the book.

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  8. Nice review! I kept trying to give the book a chance, but the plot was so transparent I gave up. It's a shame the movie headed in the same direction. I really like Emma Watson, but I totally agree. Even in interviews, it seems like she extols too much thinking and control over how she wants her characters to be perceived. She needs to let things happen naturally especially in acting to give her characters more variety.

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    1. We really should've known this would happen after Hermione wore nothing but pink after Prisoner of Azkaban.

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  9. Such a shame about this one. I haven't seen it but your review seems to match the consensus. It's so wild when so many talented people are involved in something that falls flat.

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