Movie poster for "The Circle," distributed by STX Entertainment.

Movie poster for "The Circle," distributed by STX Entertainment.

Welcome to the 1A Movie Club! It’s a new regular series where we virtually watch a selected movie with our listeners, then discuss the film and its themes on-air.

For our first installment, we saw “The Circle,” a movie based on the Dave Eggers’ novel of the same name that stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt and John Boyega. The plot revolves around a successful and powerful tech company that makes disturbing use of users’ private information.

This conversation will contain many, many movie spoilers so please be advised.


  • John Horn Host, "The Frame" on KPCC
  • Laura Sydell Digital culture correspondent, NPR
  • Cade Metz Senior writer, WIRED

Interview With James Ponsoldt, Director Of "The Circle"

James Ponsoldt sits down with John Horn, host of “The Frame” on KPCC, for a chat about his new movie, “The Circle,” which he directed and co-wrote.   Press play to hear him discuss working with Tom Hanks, his own views on privacy today and his reaction to critics’ reception of the movie.

1A Movie Club Reviews

Lucky for us, everyone’s a critic! Here are a few movie reviews of “The Circle” written by our listeners:

Ellen says, “I thought the movie portended a future where group think takes over rational thought. And where the individual is reduced to a rating system. Forced participation is not freedom and secrets are not always bad. We live in an era where we need to stand up for the individual and for the right to have privacy. Sharing ideas is good, respecting and celebrating our differences better.”

Michael writes, “This movie is a good example of why the author of the book shouldn’t write the screenplay. While the music and graphics were fantastic (especially the credits and ‘Simple Gifts’ at the end), there wasn’t enough development of the characters. They were one-dimensional. For example, I didn’t have any idea why Mae and Annie were friends. There was no backstory. That also goes for Ty and the other leaders of the company.

Katlyn adds, “To sum the movie into one sentence, Emma Watson’s character, May, said it best: “Unfulfilled potential”. My main issue with the movie was how May went from a cynical guppy to hive mind queen. The way she managed to turn personal privacy into a social taboo – the whole ‘secrets are lies’ nonsense – had devastating effects to her personal life; and yet, despite the negative impacts of being transparent, she made it her mission to no longer let privacy be a choice for anyone. Totally unbelievable.

Harry at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY called to leave his review.

And Jim from East Lyme, Connecticut had this to say:

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