If you faithfully keep up with your social media account(s), you may sit there nodding up and down at some or many moments in The Circle. Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Instagram connections, sure the sheer weight of keeping up with your virtual world in real life can make your eyes dance in your head.
In this intense extension of that dynamic directed and co-written by James Ponsoldt with
Dave Eggers, who also wrote the novel of the same name, we find a plucky young woman thrust into the inner workings of the company that could possibly take over the virtual and actual world.
Mae is struggling along as a power company temp when her good friend Annie gets her an interview for an entry-level job at The Circle.
That’s the social media conglomerate that’s all of what we experience on our phones and tablets and more. Way more.
Mae at first is wide-eyed in wonder and perhaps a little cynical at what goes on at Google/Amazon/Yahoo er, The Circle campus. She wants her customer service rating to be high, but may be a bit squeamish about those social media connection numbers that run alongside it. But then Annie, already in the Big 40 of The Firm, gets the company health plan to pony up for a treatment thus far unaffordable for her dad, and it’s full-speed ahead for Mae.
Emma Watson plays the intelligent young woman with plenty of verve and emotion, and enough oomph to stand up to veteran Tom Hanks’ so-smooth run as the smarmy founder of The Circle. This titan of tech knows how to dangle his creations in front of his organization and make his goals seem to burst with promise for all.
Back on the home front, it’s kind of unsettling to watch Bill Paxton’s solid turn as her ailing father in what turned out to be his final movie role before he died of complications following surgery.
Dad and mom are part of Mae’s emotional rollercoaster as she discovers more and more about The Circle and the plot gets thicker – and, very hopefully, more unbelievable. It takes death and destruction to set off Mae’s bells and whistles. If it gets to this, well, I sure hope there’s a lot more suspicion going on in the real world.