Warning: Full Spoiler Alert –
The new Tom Hanks movie is really the new Emma Watson movie. I’m not sure how old she is, but she makes me feel like an old man watching his teenage daughter. The late Bill Paxton plays her father, ill with MS, and Glenne Headly her mother, devoted to caring for her husband. Ellar Coltrane is Mercer, the genuine young man whom Watson’s character, Mae, is fast friends with; apparently they have been an item at some point.
Emma’s friend Annie, played by Karen Gillian, gets her out of her small-time rut at a small, local office job and into the mix at The Circle, a powerful tech company in the San Francisco Bay Area. While I doubt Tom Hanks and crew have anything against Tim Cook and Apple, The Circle unfolds to reveal an Orwellian nightmare of sorts, and The Circle somewhat reminds one of mega-firms like Apple.
John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) plays Ty, one of the founders of The Circle, a role that should have been further developed in this movie that kept to a high-level view of the story. Ty lets Mae konw that there is more to The Circle than meets the eye, and indicates that side is nefarioius. The movie goes on to show how involved The Circle is in the lives of its employees, their families, and the whole world.
Mae becomes a true acolyte of The Circle, agreeing to let her entire life be monitored for her fulfilment, protection, and to help others. When this experiment ends in tragedy, Mae briefly withdraws to the real world outside of the social cocoon at The Circle, only to return full force and triumph over the men who control the organization.
The ending leaves one wondering if this is a victory of hidden things being revealed, or if technology will continue to be abused. Will Mae keep her character with the power she now wields? Is our virtual age going to see the rise of the antichrist, or are we just in an age where science and technology will herald healing and help?
The Circle is perhaps not a great film, but it is a thought provoking journey.