The Circle

Critics Consensus

The Circle assembles an impressive cast, but this digitally driven thriller spins aimlessly in its half-hearted exploration of timely themes.



Total Count: 136


Audience Score

User Ratings: 18,007
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Movie Info

The Circle is a gripping modern thriller starring Emma Watson ("Harry Potter"), Tom Hanks ("Sully") and John Boyega ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens"). When Mae (Emma Watson) is hired to work for the world's largest and most powerful tech & social media company, she sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company's founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.


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Critic Reviews for The Circle

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (116)

Audience Reviews for The Circle

  • Mar 12, 2018
    "Privacy was only temporary...and now it's over." Rarely has a film missed the point of its own story as completely as The Circle does. After getting a job with a tech company Mae Holland quickly becomes a rising star who pushes for more and more access to people's lives through mobile devices; alienating her friends and family along the way. Rather than learning a lesson about the importance of a person's right to privacy the heroine (and by extension the filmmakers) double down and call for the complete elimination of privacy. And, the Orwellian hell of constantly being monitored and being forced into the system is treated more as a coming reality and positive than cautionary. Starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Karen Gillan, and John Boyega, the cast is pretty good and delivers solid performances. Additionally, the script does a fairy job at building mystery and intrigue as to a possible sinister plot within the Circle and its new programs. Despite getting the message wrong, The Circle is a compelling dramatic thriller that examines the frightening possibilities that technology can bring.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2018
    Not sure why the hate on this movie. Yes, it's a little exaggerated and far fetched, but well acted and engaging. Not a movie I would buy and rewatch over and over, but entertaining enough for a one off viewing.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2017
    Watson's character is so unlikable and poorly constructed, changing her mind so randomly, that any discussion about the limits of technology and what it could represent to privacy gets lost in a script that doesn't know what to do with it, especially as it reaches an awful ending.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 17, 2017
    Tom Hanks has been in some shitty films in the past few years, but this one, I believe, is his true nadir. He should really stop doing Dave Eggers adaptations. And even though Daniel Radcliffe has managed to forge a serious acting career post-Harry Potter, Emma Watson has yet to latch onto anything of real quality. The Circle is an aimless critique on social media and the surveillance state. Just when you think they've touched on something of substance to say about privacy or the ubiquity of technology, it is quickly glazed over for some new, boring plot development. The film concerns Watson as she has started her dream job at a Google/Facebook-like social media cult, the titular Circle. She's expected to participate in company events and keep a level of transparency in her private life like everyone else at the job does. Tom Hanks is the Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg of the company and, of course, he is a nice guy running a successful company that just happens to be eroding civil liberties and manipulating the government. Now you would think that this is middling enough to at least be entertaining, so why does the movie suck so bad? I think it's mostly because the plot is so contrived. John Boyega's character simply exists to tell the audience what the conflict is, he never interacts with anyone besides Watson, and in the end he is the guy who resolves the problem. So many times, I asked myself "Why in the hell is Emma doing that?" with no real answer. Watson's inner struggle translates to her just doing things that don't make sense, like kayak at night during a storm and later subject herself to being on camera for every second of her life for months. Of course, there wouldn't be a plot if she didn't do these baffling things. There is absolutely no tension, the performances are painfully bland (especially from Ellar Coltrane), and its conclusion is not very clever. Wasted potential like this is something I've been seeing way too much of this year.
    K Nife C Super Reviewer

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