Smart phones. Laptops. Apple Watches. Our world runs on technology. Without our cell phones glued to our faces or our fingers attached to our keyboards we begin to feel detached from our social network. However, people have started to question what this growing dependence on technology will morph into. Superhuman robots? Flying cars?
The Circle explores this kind of technological takeover. Emma Watson, British actor known for her role as Hermoine Granger in the Harry Potter series, takes on the role of protagonist Mae Holland. Leaving behind her small town life, Mae jumps at the opportunity to work at one of the biggest companies in the world: The Circle.
At first, blinded by glass buildings and shiny screens, Mae overlooks the downfalls of the Circle. I saw myself growing more and more curious as I shared Mae’s ignorance and confusion regarding The Circle’s true motives.
When she agrees to “go public” or wear a video camera at all times, her life transforms into a T.V. show as her every move is exposed to the world. When Eamon Bailey, the public face of the The Circle played by Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks, reveals that The Circle has planted microscopic, wireless video cameras around the world, Mae’s lack of privacy is felt on a greater scale.
The Circle appeals to the audience’s concern of the growing role of technology in our lives as a violation of privacy. Viewers come to realize that we all need those moments in a quiet, empty room to reflect on our lives and just be ourselves, without having to bend to society’s standards or alter any aspect of ourselves. For Mae, she finds these moments in a canoe on the lake, but when she attaches the camera to her shirt she begins to feel the pressure to broadcasts her thoughts and entertain her viewers.
Disclaimer: Spoiler Alert – stop reading here if you don’t want to learn the plot of the movie “The Circle.”
Exploring the use of technology, The Circle aims to catch fugitives of the law and rid the world of all wrongs by anticipating crimes with their spy cameras. However, we see how this obsession with a perfect world backfires as one of Mae’s closest childhood friends, Mercer, is killed in a car accident. This heartbreaking scene, may bring you to tears but it also can provoke a feeling of fear and contempt for our society’s obsession with creating a “better” human or just a “better” world in general through technology. Mercer’s death underlines the importance of having some imperfection in our society.
Whether curious, sad, fearful or angry The Circle can alter a viewer’s emotions in many ways. I was a bit disappointed as I did not think the climax fulfilled the mysterious buildup. However, overall I enjoyed the hidden messages to warn our current world of what it will become if we continue to follow the same technological path and forget the importance of privacy and imperfection in our world.
Amelia Brown – Sports & Wellness Editor