The 30-Second Synopsis: Mae lands a job at The Circle, a Google-esque Silicon Valley company with aims to create worldwide transparency and eliminate privacy in the process. After a near-death experience, Mae agrees to go "completely transparent" and begins livestreaming her entire life. Things go south, and major conspiracies are revealed.
The Stars: Emma Watson as San Francisco native Mae; Karen Gillan as the hard-working, high-energy Annie; John Boyega as the mysterious genius Ty; Tom Hanks as The Circle's leader, Bailey; and Patton Oswalt as the dark COO, Stenton.
Does It Live Up to the Black Mirror References?: No. Yes, the film's dystopian, tech-fueled tone feels very Black Mirror, but that show always added an original concept and sparked fresh conversation. The Circle, simply put, does not. (In fact, the film seems to borrow plotlines liberally from the Netflix series.)
When Life Gets Hard, Get In a Canoe: The Circle is filled with cliché moments, but perhaps the most unnerving is Mae's instinct to hop in a canoe whenever she's feeling introspective. We get it—sometimes you have to paddle it out to come to some sort of peace, but the symbol has been used way too many times to still be effective.
Strangest Character Shift: Mae starts off as a skeptic, joking about the Kool-Aid that all of "The Circlers" seem to drink—then quickly shifts into a vehement advocate for The Circle virtually overnight, without any real explanation beyond the notion that celebrity changes a person.
Most Believable Character Shift: At the outset of the film, Mae's best friend Bonnie is a cheery, high-powered employee at The Circle. As Mae quickly becomes the star of the company, we see Bonnie deteriorate into a pale, cynical shadow of herself, leaning on drugs (speed) to keep up with her workload.
When You Should See It: Wait until it's out on Netflix, when you can take a break when things get cheesy.
The Circle is in theaters now.