Book Club on The Big Screen
This month, TWB Book Club took a field trip to see the feature film version of our latest read, The Circle. Despite the bad reviews, I enjoyed all but the last minute of the movie. I think the reviews had more to do with the unsettling too-close-for-comfort themes in this cautionary tale of social media and its implications, rather than the actual acting. Jess Avery from Beauty Team and Account Executive Alesy Iturrey likened the story to the dark, tech-thriller show, Black Mirror. I think we all saw those parallels. This version of the future is kind of happening now…and it’s scary.
Emma Watson wouldn’t have been my first choice for protagonist, Mae. But I think she did a pretty good job of playing the optimistic newbie at a the mega-Googlesque tech company, The Circle. Tom Hanks was well cast as a trustworthy, fatherly founder-figure, especially when viewers begin to see how manipulative and power-hungry his character really is.
So what did other book members think? Account Executive Joey Smilgiewicz said, “For a book with so much potential, the movie falls a bit short by not providing enough backstory to weave together the different plot points.”
Jess said, “the movie fell a bit flat and didn’t truly capture the creepy ‘this could be real life’ feeling from the book. In fairness, the book told a pretty complicated story that would likely be difficult to capture in just 2 hours, but I think the movie could have done a better job communicating the powerful effects social media/data can have on a society.”
Both Joey and Jess agree that The Circle would do better as a TV series rather than a movie.
They make fair points, but I personally thought the kicker was the ending. Why write a screenplay based on a book if you’re going to change the punchline at the end?
If I had to recommend the book or the movie, I’d say undoubtedly, book. Alesy agrees: “Read the book. It’s a bit of a whirlwind and might leave you unsatisfied, but it captures a truth about the way social media and Internet behavior could define the living world.”
Alesy recaps book vs. movie thusly: “The movie, like the novel, feels unfinished and unrefined, but the gaps are much more obvious in the film than in the page.”