Who wants to voluntarily discuss issues such as humans’ technological dependence and the Internet enabling the invasion of privacy? Not a lot of people—especially not the youth. These problems apply to all of us living in the modern 21st century and they are not easy to digest; they often make us feel uncomfortable. The Circle bravely addresses these concerns related to the contemporary human-technology relationship—and for that, it deserves recognition.

The protagonist Mae Holland, played by Emma Watson, never truly blends in with the crowd. Mae stands out for being critical, a trait that encourages viewers to seriously examine the technology-dominated world that exists both on and off screen. However, the film’s acting and dialogue don’t always feel genuine. Its character development is forced and does not dig deeply enough, leaving viewers with lingering questions. Still, even though the film’s rushed third act fails to deliver a final main message, there is some hope for The Circle in its entirety.

Emma Watson’s character demonstrates that it is crucial for this young generation to closely scrutinize technology instead of being merely passive consumers. The Circle is no Black Mirror,1 but it sure does bring up important and relevant issues on how technology is affecting the way humans behave and relate to others. It made me want to power off my phone for awhile, and I have to say: life is kind of prettier on the flip side.

  1. A rich, sharp thriller series that explores humans’ fears in modern human-technology relationships


Raphael Rosalen

Raphael Rosalen

Raphael Rosalen is a Cinema and Media Studies undergraduate student at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, where he also serves as the president of the Undergraduate Student Council, and a multimedia artist. Interested in celebrity and popular culture and feminism theory, Raphael recently won an award for a research paper on gender equality in Hollywood in 2016. Raphael is also interested in technology and how it can augment audiovisual content. He is currently working towards becoming a cinema and media scholar, creating a visual EP emphasizing new technology in music and filmmaking, and writing for a new media critique project. Some of his favorite movies are Sunset Boulevard, Blue Jasmine, and The Bling Ring.