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The Circle


If you're on Facebook, you've already cast your vote for a life shared online and all the riches that can bring. For a glimpse at the darker side of our social network check out the clever new drama/thriller THE CIRCLE.

Emma Watson (Harry Potter) is Mae, a young woman with a dead-end job, a bad car and a longing to escape her small town existence. When her good friend Annie (Karen Gillan of "Guardians of the Galaxy") sets up an interview for Mae at a HUGE Apple/Facebook style company called The Circle, Mae leaps at a new life.

Sprawling, massive, modern and not so subtly resembling The Pentagon dropped into the San Francisco bay, The Circle is Facebook on steroids, looking to be part of every facet of your life.

Its charismatic leader Bailey stands up Steve Jobs-style and gives talks every Friday in front of young, admiring mobs about how the Circle will make your life better by being all knowing.

If you need a charismatic leader, Tom Hanks is your man and he is at his best here as a visionary with a dark side.

Mae goes from inspired to questioning and then much deeper, in ways that I didn't anticipate.

She's an intelligent, resourceful young woman with incredible vision. How her slice of the Circle effects her parents (well played by Glenne Headley and the late Bill Paxton) and those around her is fascinating and unpredictable.

John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) is very good in a critical role, but Patton Oswalt, who I normally like a lot, is just OK as Bailey's co-founder of The Circle.

When you think you've found holes in the plot, you might be surprised that The Circle is way ahead of you.

I'm an early adopter of technology and thrive on what's new and what can make life more efficient, so I see the film as a fun thriller with a solid message about freedom, individual rights and privacy. But conspiracy lovers will be screaming at me that its an accurate view of tomorrow, with George Orwellian references to the end times and Skynet.

But hey, they probably aren't on Facebook to read this anyway!

Watson and Hanks are both terrific and THE CIRCLE is an entertaining tale, filled with great visuals showing a tech-world that's probably right around the corner.

If you don't cringe a bit in some of the cult like slogans that Hanks and team spout like "Knowing is Good. Knowing everything is Better" you aren't paying attention...

The Circle gets a surprising B.

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