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“The Circle” forewarns social media’s devastating effects

Kathryn Chatman, Staff Writer

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For some RHS students, the negative effects of technological advances and invasion of privacy may be familiar themes, as they are discussed in the books “1984” and “Fahrenheit 451”, which are read in many RHS classes. The 2017 film “The Circle” also explores these common, yet important, ideas. “The Circle,” starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, examines the repercussions of the continued advancement of increasingly invasive technology.

Directed by James Ponsoldt and Sheldon Schwartz, “The Circle” follows an excited young woman, Mae Holland ( Watson), as she navigates a new job at a very large, and even more powerful, tech company called The Circle. Intelligent and perceptive, Mae quickly rises through the ranks and adjusts well to her new life. However, the encouraged lack of privacy at The Circle, combined with the stress of her father’s multiple sclerosis, leads Mae to make a reckless decision that threatens her life. After the technology developed by The Circle saves her, a grateful Mae agrees to be part of one of The Circle’s experiments. Her new role leads her to discovering the negative implications of The Circle’s agenda, and forces her to try and stop it.

In general, “The Circle” was an interesting film. As the movie progressed, the intruding role technology, especially social media, plays in one’s life increased substantially. It seemed to, though exaggerated, mirror the already detrimental effects that social media has on one’s self esteem, which drives the need for constant and immediate acceptance by liking a picture or commenting on a status. The film demonstrates this with constant approval ratings and a popularity system. Also, the film conveys the effects that the instant availability of cameras and video have on society, and the diminishing of privacy. The fact the film is set in modern day, with technological advances that are not too far fetched, made the film even more eye-opening.

One major negative aspect of “The Circle” was that it left the audience wanting more. Trailers for the film promised a shocking and action-packed adventure, but the film fell short on both fronts. There were several twists that could’ve been explored after certain scenes, but instead the plot only introduced bland, cliche revelations, leaving viewers feeling underwhelmed. The moment the film does take an interesting turn, it ends, leaving the audience to wrap their heads around a vague cliffhanger. In addition, the acting in the movie was sub-par. Given the star studded cast, including big name stars Emma Watson and Academy Award Winner Tom Hanks, one would expect the acting quality to be exceptional; however, lines were often uttered awkwardly and accompanied by stiff pauses, which didn’t allow for a smooth and plausible plot. The acting could not compare to roles portrayed by the actors in other films, for instance Watson’s Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series, or Hanks’ Captain Miller in war film “Saving Private Ryan.”

Overall, “The Circle” was an entertaining film, but had several lackluster qualities. It earns 3/5  stars.

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“The Circle” forewarns social media’s devastating effects