Get the skinny on “The Circle”!

What if, all your social media platforms were rolled into one?
What if, everyone could see everyone else’s every move?
What if there were no secrets, no chance for governments to be corrupt?
What if connectivity was the focus of your lives?

You may think it is already here but it can and will get much worse.
There are two things that drive humanity to extremes, two things that people seem to crave and cannot resist in some cases. Money, and power.

The circle seems like a utopia. The best place on Earth to work.
That is how Mae feels and she is thrilled to land a job at The Circle.
There are all kinds of wonderful things for a person to do and really, working at The Circle hardly seems like work at all.

That is until you see her friend Annie, a person who at first, seems to be quite happy in her work, but soon the work takes its toll on Annie, and she soon looks like a burnt out zombie. She is upper level management at The Circle and she gets Mae her entry level job. Annie is the first visual sign that something is wrong. Or is it?

The situations Mae finds herself in look eerily like an Apple presentation. No doubt that is not an accident.

Mae at first does not fit in, she is bent on making a good impression by getting her approval rate up. This draws the attention of two of what could best be described as HR personnel. They approach her and tell her she needs to be more socially active. Social media active.

The Circle has developed a new technology called “SeeChange” mini camouflaged cameras that are placed any and everywhere. Mae soon winds up confused and so she resorts back to her escape. Kayaking. She “borrows” a kayak after hours. Fog rolls into the bay and she is overturned and in trouble. She is immediately rescued however, thanks to the cameras placed on a buoy by the Coast Guard.
SeeChange saves her life and millions watch.

Mae Holland is now the center of attention at The Circle. She is the first to become completely transparent and will wear a camera 24/7/365. With her newfound power she will take the company in a new direction. The things that happen to Mae seem great. The audience can see the underbelly of the company thanks to Ty, the designer of Truyou, the program tying all kinds of social media platforms into one seamless company.

Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt have hidden agendas.
Mae’s newfound popularity has effects on all those around her.
That is the premise of “The Circle”. There are some great references to cultism, the dangers of social media, sheep, brainwashing, wanting to be popular, possible scenarios of tracking a person’s every move. finding fugitives, preventing crime, helping police, The Circle (the company) tries to stress complete transparency as a positive thing with many benefits. Which it can be, but then again, when social media not only controls the lives of the people in the movie but shapes it, you can see the dangers.
The ending actually shocked me. It was not what I expected, I should have expected it but for the moment I forgot about human nature.

The Circle never mentions George Orwell, but that is certainly what kind of movie this is. People are so willing to accept things that seem positive, they do not dig deeper into what accepting these changes and in the case of this movie, mandates, really means.

What The Circle drives at is the addiction to social media, the addiction to the phones and tablets. The company fools the people into thinking that privacy is a bad thing, that everything must be shared so everyone can experience it. Tom Hanks talking about how Mae was selfish because she had not shared her memory, her experience of kayaking with his son who has cerebral palsy.  She buys into it. She gets addicted to the popularity, the newfound power she has. Annie falls by the wayside. Her parents, who have things they would rather not share, become her victims, Mercer, her childhood friend, the rebel, warns her, tries to pull her away from The Circle but it is too late. Her friend and her parents choose to live outside the circle. her parents represent the generation comfortable with their life, they don’t need the constant connection or attention.

The movie does not expand too much on Ty but he does play an integral role. He says he did not invent TruYou to be monetized. Much like many people who do things with good intentions, his creation has been taken from him and used for the exact thing he was trying to prevent. The consequences of social media addiction are in the movie but not overly stressed. The key message here is not to turn off your phones but to look at the way you are using social media. Are you becoming a sheep? Is it becoming the focus of your life?  Take a look at the result of this study from Baylor university: A new study from researchers at Baylor University has found that women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, while men students spend nearly eight hours. The obsession of watching TV 3PM to 10 PM has been replaced with phones. It is still an obsession nonetheless.

Is your personal cel phone number also your contact for work? Have your work life and personal communications blended together into one constant barrage of connectivity? The real thing that you should take away from The Circle is to think about your own personal usage of social media, cel phones, tablets, and computers. How many hours a day do you spend?

Be careful the next time you go skinny dipping, there might be a camera nearby. Is that the world you want to live in? Sound off on ‘The Circle’ AFTER THE JUMP!

 

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