Film Review: The Circle

A film with Emma Watson & Tom Hanks… what could possibly go wrong?! Well, more than you could think.

Based on a book written in 2013, The Circle is a film that could have been great but it’s bizarre ending, where the film just suddenly finishes, ends up leaving more questions than answers and it’s character development was virtually non-existant (what was the point of John Boyega’s character?).

The premise of the film is a good one. Mae Holland (Emma Watson) is working in a dead end job in a contact centre where her job is basically to calm down people who ring up to shout at her. Her best friend Annie helps her land her dream job in the Circle, which is basically a take on the Apple/Google world, where we meet the Circle founder Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) who is the Steve Jobs equivalent.

The whole point of the Circle is to make a world where there are no secrets. To do this they create a camera, which is about the size of a marble that can attach to anything. This camera is cheaper to buy than some trousers but is equipped with facial recognition techonology and is able to produce amazing high resolution images.

We move on to situation where Mae volunteers to become the first person in the world to wear the camera. She is broadcasting her life to the world 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Millions of people follower here and she turns into a celebrity at the Circle. The remainder of the movie focusses on how the choice Mae has made affects her family and friends, with some funny and sad consequences.

The Circle could have been great had it actually dealt with the question it raises. Things like, if there were cameras all around us, and we knew that every move we made, every action we took, was broadcast all over the world, would we still do bad things? Would the facial recognition technology stop criminals? Do we make the wrong choices because others aren’t watching? How does justice work in a world where everyone can see everything? Why do those in power, often abuse it? Would knowing everything really make things better?

I’m thankful that life isn’t like the Circle and we have answers to those questions…

Our world is broken. Sin has broken and stained each and every part of it. The reason it is broken is because Adam & Eve fell for the lie that knowing everything would be better. As a result, even if the cameras were on the whole time, people would still do wrong things. Power would still be abused. Criminals would still avoid law enforcement.

God, though, sees everything. He sees the mess, he sees the brokenness and rather than abusing His power, he does the complete opposite. He comes to earth to sort out the mess.

1 John 4 says:

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

How different to the world of The Circle. God recognises all the cameras in the world could never sort out the mess and that only He can… so Jesus comes.