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San Francisco Chronicle
The Circle is very much a plea for the preservation and sanctification of privacy, but it’s nicely constructed in that no one character expresses the film’s distinct point of view.
The Hollywood Reporter
One of the things The Circle gets right on multiple occasions is that, once one has bought into a technology like this, the problems it creates are invitations not to abandon it but to seek further technological solutions.
You could call The Circle a dystopian thriller, yet it’s not the usual boilerplate sci-fi about grimly abstract oppressors lording it over everyone else. The movie is smarter and creepier than that.
We’re lucky that moralists like Ponsoldt and Eggers have a sense of humor.
The premise begs to provoke contentious debate around privacy laws in an age of boundless innovation, but it can’t seem to find steady footing in that dialogue, in part because it lacks a substantial means of asking the right questions.
New York Daily News
Director James Ponsoldt — who did the very good "The Spectacular Now" and "Smashed" — is great at visuals, peppering the screen with glowing tweets and comments. He overplays the comedy, though, and underplays the mystery — there's never a feeling that Mae is in real danger.
The A.V. Club
It’s hard to make a film that’s critical of digital technology without sounding like a square. It’s this uphill battle that The Circle fights for a little while, then loses about halfway through.
Los Angeles Times
Despite appealing features, including stars Emma Watson and Tom Hanks (who morphs his patented affability into casually sinister, Jobs-ian salesmanship), The Circle never builds up a head of steam as either dark drama, modern satire or dystopian thriller.
The Circle takes a valid concern about lack of privacy in the Internet age and turns it into a hyperbolic and finally laughable melodrama.
The Circle is all foreplay, playfully prodding without providing a satisfying payoff.
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