The Circle is a film that is borne out of a promising premise (and, I’m sure, source material), but never really connects (pun intended), because of a script that cuts corners with performances that aren’t up to task.
Tom Hanks plays a Steve Jobs-esque character (and Patton Oswalt is Marketing Wozniak?) at a Google or Amazon-type tech oligopoly called The Circle. It is never explicitly stated what they actually do other than connect everything and everybody. Emma Watson is a recent college grad looking for a job and she arrives into the world of The Circle to become an entry-level Circler (I know). She rises to prominence quickly, because she was (probably) intentionally recruited for her naiveté and she is entrapped when the company offers to pay for her ill dad’s treatment (a wonderful Bill Paxton in one of his last roles).
This may be controversial, but it has to be said. Emma Watson is a terrible actor. She can’t carry this film and it needs a lot of carrying. Ellar Coltrane is a naturalistic actor (read: not that good), and is out of place here as a non-techy old friend. John Boyega is a thoroughly underutilized (and seemingly token) human MacGuffin as the Circle’s young outcast progenitor.
The Circle’s premise is that everyone should live a 100% transparent life online, and in that way it is a sort-of reverse The Truman Show. There are some weird occurrences that outset the third act and an inevitable twist that the audience has no problem foreseeing. The film explores some interesting ideas about technology’s grasp on our lives, but it never fully takes hold.