Tom Hanks. For being Tom Hanks.
The Original Content. I have yet to read The Circle by Dave Eggers, but I have heard many good things about him as a writer. I think it’s safe to assume that the parts of the story that shine are thanks to his original text.
The Warnings of Living Life Online. The television show The Black Mirror probably did a better job of this, more dynamically—even so, The Circle had some potent moments of painting the negative aspects of living life without secrets.
A Decent Portrayal of The Internet Mob. Facebook and Twitter have in some ways become hostile spaces for ideas, instead of a benevolent sharing ground. The Circle does an exceptional job of revealing how the mob mindset can be spurred on by sensational headlines, instant rallying cries, and emotion unchecked by rational understanding and adequate context.
Life at a Tech Startup. Look, they exaggerate things a bit, but you have to admit that they nail a few things about tech startups on the head. There is no life outside of your work life, and the company is certainly taking advantage of your youth and the enthusiasm built around the culture to help you blur the lines between work and play—to where it hurts you. They even make an unforced “drinking the Kool Aid” joke, and aptly so.
John Boyega. Not his presence, but his lack thereof. I was legitimately excited that he was in this film, and intrigued that he was to play a heroic antagonist. He was hardly on the screen, and highly underused.
The Ending. Was it a good ending, or a bad ending? Was it supposed to be eerie, or hopeful? I honestly couldn’t tell, because for all the clear problems with living a life fully connected to the internet, the narrative seemed to give no grounded conclusions about how to make that better. This was THE worst part of the film, and made it seem like everything built to a big, whopping Nothing.
Emma Watson’s Accent. She did a fair job of hiding it, but as I see her and think instantly of Hermione, I kept looking for it constantly. Seek, and ye shall find.
The Circle as an Apple-Meets-Facebook. They make a few loose allusions between The Circle and both Facebook and Apple’s corporate offices, including making the Circle headquarters look very much like the new Apple HQ hyper loop. To be sure, I think they’re taking things a little too far by saying a new customer service representative at such a company would have access to things like mid-week raves on campus, or rock climbing walls between shifts. Maybe at corporate Apple, but not retail.