Hanks, But No Hanks. “The Circle” Is Worth Skipping

By Scott Kurland

Film: The Circle

Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Patton Oswalt, Karen Gillian, Ellar Coltrane, Glenne Headly, and Bill Paxton

Rated PG-13

Director: James Ponsoldt

WARNING: This review contains spoilers. If you wish to see this movie don’t read any further. But honestly, who wants to see “The Circle,” unless of course, you’re under the age of 15). If that’s the case, then go ahead see this movie. I dare you.

                Hollywood is making too many young adult books into movies. There, I said it. I thought I could handle watching movies like "The Circle" because of how good “The Fault In Our Stars” was, but that was three years ago. After the controversy that is “ 13 Reason Why,” and the years of “Twilight” films, I have had enough. I thought this weeks film “The Circle” (based on the novel of the same name) would change my mind, but it didn’t. I’m tired of the misunderstood *insert male/female hero here* trying to take on the establishment and/or fight evil. They can’t do it. Only one person could and he had a lighting-bolt-scar and a wand. Now, without further ado,  let’s find out how cantankerous this weeks film is shall we?

   “The Circle” is the story of Mae (Emma Watson); a young millennial working as a customer service rep at a bill collectors office. Her life is tough. Her father's (Bill Paxton) MS is getting progressively worse; something that is a constant worry for Mae and her mother (Glenne Headly). Meanwhile, Mae’s childhood friend Mercer (Ellar Coltrane) is trying to woo Mae to no avail. Things are beginning to look brighter though.

Thanks to her friend Annie (Karen Gillan)

, Mae lands an opportunity to work at San Francisco’s #1 tech and social-media-based company “The Circle.” Soon, Mae becomes part of this cult-like society run by the charismatic Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) and mysterious Tom Stenton (Patton Oswalt). When Mae is warned by one of “The Circle’s” creators Ty (John Boyega), there’s only one thing Mae can do…drink the cool-aid and become an internet celebrity. God, I hate this film.

                Here’s the problem with “The Circle,” (besides everything).  The film's protagonist is a villain. Mae drinks the cool-aid so much she should be bursting through walls screaming “OH YEAH!” Every time Mae is given the opportunity to do the right thing, she does the opposite. This has nothing to do with the performance given by Emma Watson. The real issue is the character created by David Eggers and adapted by Eggers & director James Ponsoldt. We’re supposed to be in fear of Hanks and Oswalt, but I myself  was terrified of Mae. It’s one thing to see someone being manipulated, but it’s quite another thing to see that same person become a cult leader

                I know some people will find this film terrifying, I on the other hand was bored. There’s nothing redeemable about this movie, and that breaks my heart to say because it stars my two man crushes: Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt. This film also features a performance from Beck. I love Beck, but this film is absolute garbage. What I found the most shocking was that “The Circle” was directed by James Ponsoldt who directed “The End of The Tour” and “The Spectacular Now;” two perfect films. Usually a director falters on their sophomore film, not their junior. I worry Ponsoldt will not get work after this, because not only is this film panned across the boards, it’s also poorly written and paced. Ponsoldt is responsible for all those things.

                “The Circle” is worth skipping. The lead characters are poorly written, the story is ridiculous, and sadly this will always be a reminder of Bill Paxton’s final performance. Do yourself a favor. Do not see “The Circle.” There’s better films starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson you should be watching. This isn’t any of them.

REVIEW RATING: D

scott kurlandComment