It’s LDOC here at Carolina and I just got back from watching “The Circle” at Silverspot with my MEJO 474 class (thanks to Gary Kayye) and I have to say, I was very disappointed. With an all-star cast and supposedly great plot line (I read the book and absolutely loved it), I was ready to be thoroughly impressed with the movie. Granted, I know most movies rarely live up to the expectation that the book offers, but I thought this would be different.
I found myself kind of lost throughout the movie, even though I read the book just one month ago. I was confused as to why the plot left out major events in the book and why major characters had virtually minor roles in the movie. With big stars like Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and John Boyega, I was anticipating each one to own their roles. Unfortunately, I think Tom Hanks, specifically, did a stellar job of playing his part while Watson didn’t necessarily fit her role and Boyega had such a minor role that I question why he was even brought into production.
After the movie, my professor said he thought that people who hadn’t seen the movie would get what it was about even more than we do. I politely disagreed, but I do believe people would think the movie posed an interesting concept: total transparency in society. The Circle is a powerful technology and social media company with the goal of removing any barriers to privacy among people and nations. This action would make everybody and everything transparent and accessible to the whole entire world. While this absolutely could have its benefits (little to zero crime rate, prevention of wars, knowledge of where your tax dollars are going, etc.), it could, and would, have its negative effects. Nothing is private or safe. People have access to all of your data and lives, which to me seems a bit much.
The main reason why you should read the book before going to watch the movie because you miss the actual thrilling probability of this actually happening in society. We already get a glimpse of living transparent lives through Facebook Live stories and platforms like Instagram and Snapchat where we get to show the world our lives and what we’re doing every second of the day. You get to see this in the book and read every detailed page of the Circle’s programs and how characters like Mae and Ty process all of it. The movie, however, never lives up to its thriller/dystopian potential and leaves you hungry for more.
Additionally, the character development in the movie is extremely poor. I think technology has the power to depersonalize individuals and that may have been what the producers tried to do with Mae Holland, played by Watson, over the course of the movie. However, I think her character was pretty much bland from the start and even though she rose higher up in the company, her confidence and strength still dwindled. The romance between Watson’s character and Boyega’s character was also nonexistent. A big part of the plot development in the book was the growth of the relationship, but in the movie the emotional connection between the two was lacking and one could say, didn’t even exist.
So, while I think the movie had the potential to accurately depict what our society could turn into, and while I think Watson’s character had the potential to be a protagonist that everybody loved to hate, the whole thing just ended up failing to be anything but exciting. In fact, the best depiction I can give of the movie is plain and uneventful. Read the book — it’s better.