The Circle (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Circle (2017)



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

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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 (98) | Top Critics (25)

Floats many intriguing ideas, then lets them drop with a thud.

May 11, 2017 | Full Review…

Even as it focuses on why information just wants to be free, "The Circle" is stuck in a loop.

May 5, 2017 | Rating: C | Full Review…
Top Critic

As a satire, The Circle might have been worth a few giggles, but as a deadly serious drama, it's laughable in an entirely different way.

May 2, 2017 | Full Review…

From its beginning, the movie has difficulty wedding its collage of ideas with a compelling narrative.

April 30, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The future is now and it's scary. Too bad The Circle isn't.

April 30, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

This is one of the most crashing letdowns of 2017.

April 28, 2017 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Circle


In a year where 80% of cinema is either remakes or sequels, its hard to not be excited about the original properties that creep into theatres. Sadly, The Circle won't be the one that stands out this year. When the trailer for this film was released, the premise seemed to be very intriguing and made me wanted to make the trek to the theatre. Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, and even Boyhood's Ellar Coltrane make appearances here, and while they give their all, the film can't help but feel unexplored. Throughout the trailer, Emma Watson exclaims that her biggest fear is "unfulfilled potential," which is ironic, due to the fact that The Circle is one of the most frustrating films to come out so far this year for that very reason. Here is why this film is such a disappointment in my eyes. Right off the bat, this film faces the issue that we are already dangerously close to this future in terms of technology, so it's more of a warning than an intriguing premise. That being said, the premise of having someone land a new job at a tech company that is implanting cameras all across the globe seems cool, and knowing that it will also explore how that will affect the privacy of many people around the world just increases my attention tenfold. What the film fails to do is expand on its notions of technology. There are far too many moments where we find the core character in Mae (Emma Watson) figuring out what the issues throughout this company are. Never once did I feel any sense of tension, which is a tragedy, due to the fact that the issues brought into the forefront are so interesting. Don't get me wrong here, because I didn't walk out of this film disliking it. I admired the premise greatly, it's just that they didn't do enough with it. When certain secrets are revealed and the emotional core is cranked up to eleven, The Circle does find certain moments to shine for its audience. Every performance here is note-worthy as far as this film goes, which in turn makes for a very watchable piece of film. The mystery behind The Circle is truly what kept my interest, but it seems to be completely resolved without any big outbursts or any sort of loss. By the third act of this film, there is a pretty large incident that flips the film on its head, but it's very rapidly covered up. To be honest, there truly is only one emotionally powerful / tense moment throughout this entire film, but it could honestly come off as either laughable or too far-fetched to some. For myself, this event did nothing to serve the outcome of this film and The Circle truly has no definitive conclusion, which I found odd, considering the circumstances that are set-up throughout the third act. When you watch a film with eons of potential, only to be served with a mediocre delivery, it seems like a huge cop-out for viewers. In the end, there are bigger disappointments out there for sure. Star Wars was nearly ruined at one point, which could've collapsed an entire franchise, or The Hobbit films not being as beloved as The Lord Of The Rings was troublesome as well. That being said, it's worse when a singular/original film is released, showcasing a great (or at least intriguing) premise throughout its marketing campaign, only to just scratch the surface of what could've been explored. The Circle tries very hard to open the eyes of its audience, in order to show what we will be heading for in our near future, but there isn't nearly enough tension to carry this near two hour film. Overall, I quite enjoyed the idea of the film, but everything about the film itself felt like it was holding itself back from something bigger. Some people may find themselves transfixed, but that is very far from the word I would use to describe this film. In my opinion, I enjoyed The Circle just about as much as I disliked it. For that reason alone, I can't exactly recommend it.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Not everyone is going to like you. That is a lesson today's society could stand to appreciate a little more if not learn, but that doesn't mean that's going to stop people from trying. Wanting to be liked isn't inherently a bad thing, but when we depend on "Likes" to sustain our own sense of self-worth, when we're living off "Likes" there could certainly be one or two issues pop up. When we live through the persona we've created online and reach a point we can't identify our true selves then what people like isn't actually the individual anymore anyway, so where do we draw the line? How can this age of transparency be utilized in positive ways rather than resorting to fake or devious methods to again try and prove that some lives are more valuable or more special than others? In The Circle Emma Watson plays a young, presumably middle glass girl in her early twenties who goes to work for a tech company a la Google called The Circle and essentially becomes their poster child for transparency. Submitting herself to the line of thinking that she can only be her best self when she knows people are watching her; that to leave her to her own devices would mean that she would develop and keep secrets and to harbor secrets is to have something to lie about to the world. Sound slightly cult-ish? It's supposed to, but while the tech company that is The Circle clearly has ulterior motives for their extreme invasions of privacy that they so lovingly convey as being concerns for the greater good of mankind The Circle the movie doesn't seem as clear on what its motives or meanings are supposed to be. On one hand there is certainly an analogy at play for the world as presented in the film when compared to that of the social media-driven culture we're all currently a part of, but while Facebook can still plead connection and bringing people together as their main objective it is so blatantly obvious that The Circle seeks world domination that it's past the point of believable someone hasn't called them on their bluff already. Furthermore, the film builds in a fashion where the audience is led to believe there is going to be a major twist, a serious maneuver of innovation over intelligence, a battle of wits for the ages, but when such metaphoric beans come to be spilled there is hardly any cohesion to the point our protagonist makes. Watson's Mae Holland uses The Circle's tools against its nefarious leaders, but she has no point, no position, and all we're left with is a clouded message of a movie that goes nowhere. read the whole review at

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

The Circle proves that even the greatest actors can even end themselves in a mediocre film. Not much can be explained here, but it may be showing us that this film tried so hard to end up what it is today. Unfortunately for us, the director managed to end his great (or at least somewhere there) film streak with this mediocre attempt to join there in the first place.

EpicLadySponge the Adventurer
EpicLadySponge the Adventurer

Super Reviewer

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