What’s there to like?
I’ve really been looking forward to this one. Dave Eggers is one of my favorite contemporary authors, and I loved this novel. I’ve also liked Eggers adaptations in the past, like A Hologram For the King.
And, in fact, there were some things that benefited quite a bit from the movie medium. For example, the creep of conformity. Being able to look around and see everyone else buying into something and how easy it is to slide right in.
I’m also enjoying Emma Watson’s expanding repertoire and range–Hermione who?–even if at times I could hear her really working hard on that American accent.
And there were some wonderful moments, such as when Mae (Watson) is confronted by concerned Circlers about why on Earth she wouldn’t be socializing and sharing more. So many choices! They’re optional, of course (but why aren’t you doing anything?). And it’s all just for fun (but seriously, do it)!
What’s not to like?
Unfortunately, while it’s fun to see a favorite novel adapted, there’s a lot that didn’t quite gel here. For one, the tone. In the book, the vision and scope of the Circle’s ideas were inspiring and intoxicating for the most part, with only tiny worries presenting themselves little by little. In the movie, everything is creepy as hell pretty much from the beginning. There just wasn’t enough time to build the premise properly, perhaps?
And Tom Hanks, for being maybe the most charming man in history, is awfully . . . not very charming here. And he’s playing a guy who supposedly runs on charm. I’m not saying Hanks half-assed this role, but I’m not saying he didn’t, either.
Overall, there are just too many ideas packed in here for most of them to be dealt with adequately. The movie failed to capture what it set out to. And it’s too bad.
It’s nice to see a movie aim big, tackling timely and relevant issues and well written fiction. But it’s even nicer when a movie connects with its aim. And The Circle didn’t.
[Cross-posted at loganbeaux.com.]