The Circle Starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks: Critics’ Thoughts.

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“ The Circle : Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better. ”

Opening at more than 3100 theaters this weekend, the new Drama and Sci-Fi movie The Circle is expected to take the second place at the domestic box office with just $10.5 Million. The Circle is opening alongside How to Be a Latin Lover with moderate-wide release and Sleight with a limited release. The Fate of the Furious is expected to keep the lead for another week with an estimated $19.2 Million.

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Here are the critics’ thoughts:

TheWrap – Dan Callahan

The Circle takes a valid concern about lack of privacy in the Internet age and turns it into a hyperbolic and finally laughable melodrama.

“The Circle,” an over-the-top and implausible story that tries to be “timely” and “relevant” but mainly hits us over the head with absurd situations.

San Francisco Chronicle – Mick LaSalle

The Circle is very much a plea for the preservation and sanctification of privacy, but it’s nicely constructed in that no one character expresses the film’s distinct point of view.

“The Circle,” based on Dave Eggers novel, is as chilling as the most frightening horror movie. Yet the world it depicts is practically our world, just a tiny leap into the near future. Here’s a proposal: Let’s put together a time capsule and make guesses as to how people 50 years from now will see this movie. My guess is they’ll consider it a quaint throwback to when people were still fighting it, before they realized that love is hate, and two plus two equals five, and that the computer in the sky loves us all very much.

The Hollywood Reporter – John DeFore

One of the things The Circle gets right on multiple occasions is that, once one has bought into a technology like this, the problems it creates are invitations not to abandon it but to seek further technological solutions.

Variety – Owen Gleiberman

You could call The Circle a dystopian thriller, yet it’s not the usual boilerplate sci-fi about grimly abstract oppressors lording it over everyone else. The movie is smarter and creepier than that; it’s a cautionary tale for the age of social-media witch hunts and compulsive oversharing. The fascist digital future the movie imagines is darkly intriguing to contemplate, because one’s main thought about it is how much of that future is already here.

Indiewire – Eric Kohn

Unlike “The End of the Tour,” in which Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg spent an entire movie making compelling observations about creativity, “The Circle” constantly muddles its ideas. This marks the second Hanks/Eggers collaboration after the similarly misconceived “A Hologram for the King,” and together they suggest that Eggers’ whimsical plotting doesn’t naturally translate into the kind of idealism that Hanks movies tend to embody.

The premise begs to provoke contentious debate around privacy laws in an age of boundless innovation, but it can’t seem to find steady footing in that dialogue, in part because it lacks a substantial means of asking the right questions.

“The Circle” is stuck in a loop.

Screen International – David D’Arcy

We’re lucky that moralists like Ponsoldt and Eggers have a sense of humor.

New York Post – Sara Stewart

It feels like the brainchild of middle-aged guys (James Ponsoldt directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Eggers) who still think of Facebook as cutting edge.

The New York Times Glenn Kenny

The novel is at its most trenchantly funny when depicting the exhausting nature of virtual social life, and it’s in this area, too, that the movie gets its very few knowing laughs. But it’s plain, not much more than 15 minutes in, that without the story’s paranoid aspects you’re left with a conceptual framework that’s been lapped three times over.

Los Angeles Times – Robert Abele

Despite appealing features, including stars Emma Watson and Tom Hanks (who morphs his patented affability into casually sinister, Jobs-ian salesmanship), The Circle never builds up a head of steam as either dark drama, modern satire or dystopian thriller.

The A.V. Club – Jesse Hassenger

It’s hard to make a film that’s critical of digital technology without sounding like a square. It’s this uphill battle that The Circle fights for a little while, then loses about halfway through.

New York Daily News – Stephen Whitty

Director James Ponsoldt — who did the very good “The Spectacular Now” and “Smashed” — is great at visuals, peppering the screen with glowing tweets and comments. He overplays the comedy, though, and underplays the mystery — there’s never a feeling that Mae is in real danger.

The Film Stage – Daniel Schindel

Like an extended episode of Black Mirror but without a dark sense of humor or bleak horror, The Circle wails about how technology is affecting society with little grace or flair.

Slate – Sam Adams

Ponsoldt—who also directed The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour—has a great feel for intimate conversation, but he’s all thumbs when it comes to The Circle’s attempt at stylized allegory.

We Got This Covered – Lauren Humphries-Brooks

A half-baked thriller with a strong cast and a few good ideas, The Circle lacks originality, immediacy, or basic coherence.

Time – Stephanie Zacharek

The story condescends to Mae, and, by extension, to smart, ambitious millennials everywhere — I’m not a millennial, but I felt offended on their behalf.

The Guardian – Benjamin Lee

The Circle is all foreplay, playfully prodding without providing a satisfying payoff.

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  • Synopsis:

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.

  • Director: James Ponsoldt.
  • Cast:

Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Bill Paxton, Glenne Headly, Poorna Jagannathan, Ellen Wong.

  • Runtime: 150min
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genres: Drama, Science-Fiction, Thriller
  • Release date: April 28, 2017


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