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"The Circle" Movie

Updated on July 20, 2017

Movie Poster:

Movie:The Circle

Directed by: James Ponsoldt

Written by: Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Release date: April 28, 2017

My Rating: 7.5/10

IMDB: 5.3/10

Verdict: For those who love thought provoking movies

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Review:

This section doesn't have any spoilers, the second section has some minor spoilers. Just a heads-up.

Spoiler Free review:

We follow Mae as she gets a job at The Circle, through the help of a friend (Annie). Thanks to their ratings system, she is motivated to do well, then takes it further by basically abandoning her family in favor of being part of the circle group to do their activities to be viewed as a more "cool" person(basically). It was a lot like social media sites and the pressure of having a lot of friends; the more friends, the more posts and comments, the more popular you are.

Thoughts: I thought the workers there that pressed this were really creepy. Honestly, they knew too damn much about her personal life with no shame, and basically "recommended" (more like forced-think peer pressure to the 10th level) that she get involved. That whole scene, even Mae wasn't comfortable. This is the beginning though. Throughout the movie, you will see how dramatically Mae changes. And watching it happen gave me the creeps. But I do have to admit one thing: I love that we're just watching this unfold - and while, we, the outsiders, feel that something is very off - the main character herself is completely in tune with it. Thinks its the greatest thing in the world.

Throughout the movie, she will "fall" out of her "cult" then go back to it. It's like, one moment you're like "yes, finally, she's getting it", then bam, she's doing something more sinister than the company she works for. I won't really say what they are, but some links below give you a basic idea of where she's going.

The movie continues with her family issues (her dad has multiple sclerosis). And this actually becomes the key reason why she changes her world view so dramatically. I won't exactly say how here, but it's creepy what she consumes, how okay she is with it, and how it helps her family, but at the same time, completely changes her way of thinking.

One significant thing that happens is how her innovations affect her family and friend (let's just say, her going "transparent" doesn't bode well with her parents because of something) and in terms of her friend, the whole scene is so damn messed up that I was surprised by how instead of waking her up, it did the exact opposite.

Continue onto next section for more spoilery review.

Mostly Spoiler Free

More In-depth Analysis:

I do not reveal the ending or major twists relating to the movie (but I do talk about the major topics, just not what happens or how it happens in the movie).

I have to tackle (my own opinion) some of the topics she brings up:

1. Transparency/privacy be damned

In one of my philosophy classes, we learned about the panopticon. Basically the concept was that one person couldn't see all inmates in a circular building, but the fact was that the inmates could never tell when they were being watched and when they weren't, so they had to act "good". Basically, the theme is "if you're watched all the time, then you never do anything bad." Which is heavy theme in this movie. The quote from the movie says "Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better." This also brings to mind the ""if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." I also found that quote to be really silly.

Let's look at some examples, shall we:

a) Porn. Why are you hiding that?

b) Masturbation. Can I watch?

c) Take off all your clothes. Right now. What are you waiting for?

d) Shower/shaving/miscellaneous - I want this to be recorded for all to see.

e) Peeing/Pooping. What's the shame?

The argument some philosophers have is: that all these are trained in us. From a young age. So basically, privacy does not exist until we constructed it. Okay then....let's take it further.

f) Your social security, credit card, all passwords, give this all to the public. Now. (I mean, you have nothing to hide,so nothing to fear)

g) Government secrets that threaten our security (agents/spies undercover now; weapons code; password of all documents).

Now comes the fun part. I bet at this point, nobody is okay with this (I mean..if you were even ok with a! ha). For this to be possible, we would have to trust everyone. To trust everyone, everyone must be good. For everyone to be good, we would have to do some freaky genetic engineering to change the human psyche. Literally change a human mind; change a human. (Not in movie, but if you've read the book, you know the ending has a direct implication to reading minds..which could lead to this-changing minds).

The point is, transparency is ok, to a fault. Then it's not. let's not forget the introverts of the world. The ones who don't even like being around people. The ones who want to be left alone for no reason other than to feel content/what makes them happy. Even the most extroverted people like having a downtime. Like being alone to catch their breath.

My point: I don't think privacy is a social construct. I think it's essential to our being. I think because we literally benefit from having a lone time, we didn't create it, but we gave it a name because it existed. And with technology advancing, we'd had to further decide what is privacy in terms of our rights.

That's just some of my thoughts from the movie.

2. SeeChange cameras

This really creeped me out, despite it's good intentions. Sure, we can find criminals, but that's almost like having vigilantes everywhere. While, I love a good superhero movie, I don't think I'd be comfortable with knowing that there's someone with a camera, just trying to find something wrong with you. Things would go to shit very quickly. I suspect a lot of accidental deaths would happen (much like in the movie).

Let's take another example: Doppelgangers. Basically, we all have someone who looks like us to a degree. Some more than others. The question is: do we have the right criminal? There was a scene in the movie where they all basically go after someone because "criminal", but all I was thinking throughout that scene was...what if she just looks like her????? What if we all start accusing someone of something? How safe are you going to feel?

3. Voting rights

Her argument here is that by making registration so easy, more people will vote. I guess she never took a government class (I minor in government). Quick rundown: What she's thinking is the voter turnout using VAP(voting age population)(which shows decline in voting since it's inception); contrasting that to VEP(eligible)- shows that not much has changed in turnout. VAP doesn't take into account who is 18 AND can vote (let's not forget America's overpopulated prisons and laws -depending on states - that permit or ban voting during or after being paroled from prison). In simplest terms: VEP accurate, VAP not. A lot of people look at VAP to claim that voter turnout has gone to shit.

Now...onto her other point: I can't remember, but at some point she implies mandatory voting. Now, this begs 2 questions:

1). Do we have the right to tell people to vote?

On this point, I'm obviously disagreeing. There is no major change in good or bad leaders based on how many vote. Sure, it's great to practice your freedom to vote, but this doesn't (opinion) mean that we should force such an act (explained further in 2). Not only will we get an issue from (2), but we will also actually infringe on a persons right. How so? Simple: you're telling them to do something. Something that maybe they don't want to do. There are some suggestions in the political circle that the people who don't vote (not all, of course) are actually saying something by not voting. They are saying they don't like their options. They are, in essence, not voting for the purpose of expressing their disappointment in the candidates. I mean, take for example the people that do vote that don't like the candidates. Who do they put? Sometimes their own name, a cartoon character, or basically anyone or anything that's not running! And those people are saying something too. Why should we enforce all people to do this? If they don't like either or any candidates, won't they put in a bs name? Will their vote count who wins? Probably not. Not if it's their dogs name.

Fun fact: California will have automated registration soon. So, when you get drivers license, you automatically get registered to vote. This is actually a nightmare for the political parties because not only will they have a lot of nonvoters in their database, confusing their target audience, but they will end up spending money and brochures, sending them a bunch of things in the mail that will just get thrown out. Because they were, essentially, non-voters. And forcing an automation of registration does not mean, in any way, that they will vote.

2). Do we want people who know nothing to vote?

This has become a more central issue of mine since I became more involved in politics and noticed something disturbing: how uninformed people actually are. Staying up to date in politics can be hard. There is bias in media, articles, and the people you trust. How much time does the average person spend getting informed about a proposition or candidate? Do they know enough to vote in their best interest? The answer...is no, mostly. People learn the basics, or listen to their party or close friend, and automatically go with that response with little to no research of their own (which makes me wonder if that friend got this opinion from another friend, etc. How far back does it go?). People are busy or lazy, and it doesn't bode well when it comes time to vote.

The scariest part from all of this is how little people know about the system they live in. I recall a student once asking what system we live under. It's a republic, darlin. We are not a pure democracy (and our forefathers were terrified of the idea). I remember a woman asking assemblymen to impeach a president. Good god, that was an embarrassment. I blushed in her place. I'm pretty sure so did the rest of the people. They have no clue what kind of power the president or vice president or governor or an assemblyman has. Nada. And we want these people to vote what propositions to pass and fail, and which candidate gets to hold a position of power. Sometimes, the more you know, the less you sleep. Maybe that's why it goes "ignorance is bliss"? For them anyways. We worry twice over because of them. Knowledge is power for a reason. No wonder politicians think voters are ignorant sheeple.

How can we counter this? Well...the best thing I can think of is having a required test before people can vote. Before we scream "racism and sexism and ...whatever else...let me clarify. The test can be retaken, the test changes in relation to whats/who's on the ballot, and MUST be adjusted to fit the needs of the less able (so, written, audio, braille, translated, etc). The tests purpose will be to inform the voter of what and who they are voting for (there should be some questions about the positions those candidates will take and what kinds of powers they will have) (nonpartisans should write this test). The test must be as straightforward as possible (no lawyer talk). It's purpose is to make sure the person actually makes the right decision come voting time. So they don't vote against themselves. But yeah...this was the only thing I could think of. We've tried teaching them government in high school, in college, and they still don't get it. We don't want those people voting (opinion).Anyone can take the test at home, library, etc (open for a month or so before voting time). This is a basic idea, which can be thoroughly edited to make it better and more beneficial.

Okay..I've talked enough about the most mundane things (I mean, I enjoy it, but I'm sure most of you are struggling to stay awake).

4.central place to do everything

Do I need to explain why this is an issue? Central banks, central government. If it fails, what the actual F happens? Nothing good. Let's not have everything centralized please.

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Conclusion:

This movie had decent acting, it had enough creepy factor and thought provoking topics to have me at the edge of my seat, so I say, go watch it. If you don't like the actors, or the plot, at the very least try to connect it to reality. How privacy is being infringed on today, social media and it's effects on humans today, and just how possible it might be that this movie could be more of a prophecy than a dystopia. Does it unsettle you, or are you like Mae, more than ready for it to be a reality?

leave a comment below and let me know what you think about my opinion or the movie!

Take Care :)

Movie Trailer:

Lenachka - Private Eyes (movie trailer song):

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    • wpcooper profile image

      Finn Liam Cooper 4 months ago from Los Angeles

      Well interesting review - with some nice commentary between. A bit curious about this movie - more curious about the book. I had not heard about it - but then again, I gave up television several years ago.

      I think you make some good observations - about the film and society. In fact, I think you have a good foundation for a more powerful article. I would just clean up the language and edit down some of the quips and quirky speech....if you do.

      I might give the film a look.....thank you

    • Violets3 profile image
      Author

      Violet 4 months ago from California

      Thank you Ryan for your comments and follow. And wow, I saw your movie reviews, and it looked so professional!!!!(I have a lot to learn).

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 4 months ago from Louisiana, USA

      It looked interesting. Definitely a film that is not your typical subject matter. I will give this flick a look. I think I will wait for it to come out on Netflix first.