The Circle – Netflix movie review: “a simplistic parable for the social media age”

Emma Watson gets her dream job at Tom Hanks's tech firm, only to discover it's not as benevolent as its image suggests

The Circle; Netflix; JH

★★

Emma Watson embarks on a dream career at a pioneering tech firm in this simplistic parable for the social media age.

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“The Circle” is a stand-in for the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google, complete with a charismatic Steve Jobs-like CEO, played by Tom Hanks. It’s the kind of company that looks swell to work for, but is more self-serving and dangerous than its benign image suggests.

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Watson’s integration into the creepily inclusive company does suck you into the story, but her journey to becoming its poster girl and eventual whistle-blower is less convincing.

Among a noteworthy supporting cast, John Boyega, Karen Gillan and Bill Paxton (in one of his final roles) have little to do, and there’s precious little character shading to make Hanks a threatening villain.

James Ponsoldt’s film labours hard to illustrate the perils of sacrificing our privacy without due consideration, but its cautionary message is far from revelatory, while fans of the original dystopian novel by Dave Eggers are likely to baulk at the sanitised ending.

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The Circle is available to watch on Netflix