Taglines: Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better.
When her car breaks down, Mae Holland contacts an old acquaintance, Mercer, who is liked by her parents: Vinnie has multiple sclerosis and needs the help of his wife, Bonnie. Mae’s friend Annie Allerton works at The Circle, a tech company where Mae gets a job in Customer Experience. At a company meeting, Eamon Bailey introduces SeeChange, which uses small cameras placed anywhere to provide real-time video. At work, Mae rises in The Circle, embracing social networking. At a company presentation, Tom Stenton introduces a political candidate who has agreed to open her daily workings to the public through Circle.
Mae again sees a man from the party, Ty Lafitte. He takes her to an area where he says that all information on everyone is to be kept. Mae becomes embarrassed, as Ty is the creator of True You, a popular Circle product, and she had not recognised him. He tells her that True You has become something he did not intend. Mae is shown a picture of a light fitting, made by Mercer, in the shape of (or from) deer antlers. She photographs it and shares it on her Circle profile. The image attracts significant negative attention to Mercer, with people accusing him of killing real animals.
Distressed by Mercer’s reaction to this, Mae goes kayaking at night and the rough waters cause her kayak to capsize, requiring rescue by the Coast Guard. The next day, Eamon says that SeeChange cameras recorded her at the kayak premises and in the water, which is how the Coast Guard was able to save her. At the next meeting, Eamon introduces Mae to the crowd and they discuss her experience of the rescue. The kayaking experience moves her to become the first circler to go “completely transparent”, which involves wearing a small camera and exposing her life to the world 24/7. Mae’s transparency damages her relationships, as she accidentally sees her parents having sex and they become distant from her soon after.
At a board meeting, Eamon announces support from all 50 states for voting through Circle accounts. Mae takes it a step further and suggests requiring every individual to have a Circle account, which they can then use to vote. Eamon and Tom approve, but the suggestion upsets Annie. At the next company-wide meeting, Mae says that The Circle believes it can find anyone on the planet in under 20 minutes and introduces a program to find wanted felons in the same time frame. The program identifies an escaped prisoner within 10 minutes, which causes the Circlers in the audience to erupt in applause. Mae uses this successful test to suggest transparency can be a force for good.
Mae says that the program can find anyone, not just wanted felons, and someone suggests Mercer. Mae is initially hesitant to use the program to locate Mercer, but Tom persuades Mae to continue, asking if they can break their record of 10 minutes. Mercer is quickly located in an isolated cabin where he works on his antler projects. Startled by this, he escapes to his truck and proceeds to lead those tracking him on a car chase. Not long into the escape attempt, Mercer loses control of his truck and drives off a bridge to his death, which horrifies Mae.
She is seen in bed, three days later, still mourning the loss of Mercer. She calls Annie, who has also left The Circle, to her apparent benefit. Mae, however, finds that connection with others helps her cope with Mercer’s death. Mae returns to the Circle, despite her parents’ pleas. Mae calls Ty to ask for a favor, and Ty tells her something that he has discovered. At the next company-wide meeting, Mae explains how connection has helped her recover. She speaks with Eamon, and invites Tom onstage, then invites both Eamon and Tom to go fully transparent. She explains that Ty has found all their accounts, even the accounts that their wives were unaware of, and exposes them to the world, as no one should be exempt. Eamon and Tom, clearly upset, try to save face before Tom leaves the stage.
The Circle is an American film directed by James Ponsoldt, written by Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers, and based on Eggers’ 2013 novel of the same name. The film stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly and Bill Paxton. Principal photography began on September 11, 2015, in Los Angeles. It will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 26, 2017. The film is scheduled to be released on April 28, 2017, by EuropaCorp and STX Entertainment.
The Circle (2017)
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Starring: Bill Paxton, Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Karen Gillan, Claudia O’Doherty, Glenne Headly, John Boyega, Ellen Wong, Poorna Jagannathan, Michael Shuman, Regina Saldivar
Screenplay by: James Ponsoldt, Dave Eggers
Production Design by: Gerald Sullivan
Cinematography by: Matthew Libatique
Film Editing by: Lisa Lassek, Franklin Peterson
Costume Design by: Emma Potter
Set Decoration by: Rosemary Brandenburg, Sarah Sprawls
Art Direction by: Sarah M. Pott, Sebastian Schroder
Music by: Danny Elfman
Distributed by: EuropaCorp, STX Entertainment
Release Date: April 28, 2017