The Circle is a modern thriller starring Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast), Tom Hanks (Sully), John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now)

After Mae (Watson) gets a job at the biggest social media company, she is chosen by the creator of The Circle Eamon Baily (Hanks) to be part of a new project where she will have every minute of their day live-streamed on the internet via a camera on her person, and various cameras everywhere she goes to see how her behavior changes when being watched. What Mae doesn’t know, is just how much the project will change her way of life, and her relationships.

I enjoyed what they did with the livestreaming, how the character changes the way she acts when being watched, and how she gets exhausted by constantly having to put on a face for the camera instead of just being herself. They also have a comment system that closely resembles the way people comment on YouTube and other platforms with some people saying random thing that are completely irrelevant, and other people empathizing and really connecting with Mae.

The film has a really hard time keeping together the different subplots and pacing in a way that works, and it ultimately fails. It takes a while for the main plot to get going, the subplots feel forced, and anytime it starts to build tension, it slows back down again. There is a whole scene that shows up a quarter of the way through that seems like it should have come much later, based on the dialogue between the characters and events that happen later on.

The Circle is meant to be a tense, modern technology thriller, but hardly builds the tension before losing it, while cramming subplots in ways that don’t feel natural. Ultimately, we get a poorly paced, jumbled mess with some redeeming qualities, but not enough to make it worth the time for most movie goers.

Really hard to recommend, though if you spend very little with very low expectations, you might be OK