Privacy as Theft: Inside Dave Eggers’ Circle of Perfection

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While dystopian themes have been a consistent underlying trend in fiction, there seems to have been a surge in its popularity lately. Holding to that trend is Dave Eggers‘ 2013 techy novel The Circle, where privacy is considered theft. Now, doesn’t that make you feel comfortable and safe?! (Right, we didn’t think so.)

Although this concept isn’t something new or yet to be explored, it doesn’t change the scary possibility of mandatory publicity. With everything that goes on with our main character Mae Holland and The Circle closing in on her at her every turn, one might want to think twice before switching on their location settings after reading this book.

In a stirring twist — despite the plausibility of the imaginary empire Eggers creates in The Circle — he maintains there was no research involved in manufacturing the techy bits of the fictional company, The Circle, with screaming likeness to Facebook and Google.

Even Mae’s own plight seems to mirror that from a well-known memoir entitled The Boy Kings, which was written by Kathrine Losse in 2012 and chronicles her time at Facebook. It’s all very interesting, to say the least, and The Circle is a bit of a satire that will even captivate those of us who think tech gadgets are cool but may be bored by the details. But isn’t it just the way that, in terms of power, there is always an inner-circle? The Circle makes everything seem perfect, like heaven, when in fact, it is actually more similar to hell.

In this world controlled by the Three Wise Men, there is only one main gateway for all aspects of human existence to flow through. For better or for worse, The Circle holds the key to this technology. Mae eagerly begins her dream job working for the company and moves up quickly. As she becomes closer to the inner circle and finds out about the control that it holds over society, she learns the truth about the cost of relinquishing that control. In the end, The Circle’s true intention for helping humanity is revealed and Mae must make a choice.

As a tech-savvy viewer yourself, I’m sure, it will be easy to see a bit of yourself in Mae due to the way she is essentially glued to and dependent on her technological gizmos. That is precisely part of what drew director James Ponsoldt into leading the film adaptation. He feels the story is just as much of a character study as it is a cautionary tale about the authoritarian control that comes with high-tech gadgets.

Under the shroud of ending hunger and disease, Eamon Bailey (played by Tom Hanks) runs and promotes The Circle along with the Three Wise Men. This is a company where they believe in the “perfectibility of human beings.” Hmmm…okay, sure.

Even though he is only an up and coming director, Ponsoldt has built a reputation for putting together great casts. In addition to the genial Emma Watson as Mae, Ellar Coltrane — who starred opposite Watson in the 2014 Oscar-winning drama Boyhood — makes another appearance as her long-term on-screen boyfriend in The Circle. Additionally, this is another chance for fans to see comic Patton Oswalt on the big screen as well. Yet another thing for the audience to look forward to is watching Star War‘s black storm trooper, John Boyega, as Mae’s colleague and love interest. The late and talented Bill Paxton (from films like Twister and Titanic) is also seen in his final role.

As mentioned earlier, Hanks, a renowned “Good Guy” actor, will fill in as the bad guy for his role in the film. Which is a surprising deviation given he’s rarely ever seen in a villenous role due to his admitted lack of interest. If you ask me, this dark departure just adds another cool and spooky element to the much-anticipated adaptation of Eggers’ novel.

Who else is ready for the film version of Dave Eggers’ The Circle?

The Circle will see its release next Friday, April 28.
Errica Bailey
the authorErrica Bailey
A city girl from the midwest still not sure where to call home, Errica hopes to one day be able to focus her creative energy at a level akin to Carrie Matheson - off her meds of course.