THE CIRCLE REVIEW

After landing a job at the worlds biggest tech company-The Circle, Mae Holland has all her morals and ethics tested when her friends and family start to become affected as well.

This updated version of 1984 is a corporate drama which shows the frightening nightmare about what our world is becoming-being entirely public about everything. We’re already over halfway there with social media, but this story takes it one step further.

There’s several reasons why The Circle could have become successful. Firstly, it has an excellent cast with Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega and Karen Gillan. Secondly, the basic story line sounds intriguing-what would the world be like with no privacy? It may not sound like a positive aspect about our lives, but that’s already happening. With Instagram and Snapchat we’ve all become stalkers and now Snapchat even has a setting where you can see where everyone is. The Circle, is only really the slightest bit exaggerated.

Throughout the films entirety, I was enjoying it. Despite the negative reviews I found it engaging. It made me think about our society and how much it was non-private. This review was close to being slightly more positive. Until it ended. From being a huge Hitchcock watcher, I do appreciate that films don’t always end in the way you expect them to. By the time the film ended, I was slightly confused. There were so many parts which didn’t make sense…

Firstly, Ty was irrelevant. I thought he would have been a significant part in some kind of plot of major scene, but his whole role was underwhelming. Secondly, when Mae first went onto the stage, it sounded extremely rehearsed. Was it? I thought we would have found out, but then again, all of them sounded wooden when they spoke like they had rehearsed it. Thirdly, when Mae gave Eamon that camera so he could go transparent. At the time, it seemed she was doing it because she had another agenda. Maybe she wanted to expose him? By the end though, it seemed she had done it because she thought it was a genuinely good idea and being transparent was just a way of living. Personally, I thought that was going to be the climax.

I had trouble thinking of the genre at first. It seemed like a dystopian story at first. However, when that usually happens, the main character would realize at some point that what was happening in the world was wrong and they needed to change it (in the most black and white terms). Did Mae not realize the affects of no privacy when her friend died? Surely that would have been a turnover point and she would have changed her whole lifestyle, not be sucked into the tech world even more.

The overall plot was extremely disappointing. It felt as if the whole story was explaining the concept and hardly anything happened. It did show a couple of events that took place as a result of The Circle’s work, but the whole movie felt like an introduction. There was no plot twist that would shock the viewer or anything. In a drama/thriller like this I feel like there has to be a shocking turnover which changes everything you’ve thought the entire film. I’ll probably read the book so I can compare the two and it’ll be interesting to see the differences.

TO THE BONE REVIEW

20 year-old Ellen isn’t interested in living. Being sent to various recovery programs throughout her life, her extremely dysfunctional family sends her to one with Dr William Beckham. Using radical and contemporary recovery methods, this dark comedic story follows the Ellen’s journey through anorexia nervosa.

This controversial drama is by far Collins’ best work. Her riveting and striking performance is extremely realistic in how she portrays a young women with anorexia. By far it is one of the most honest stories I’ve ever been told. Reason being  that firstly, Collins and Noxon have both previously suffered from eating disorders which I’m sure resulted it in being an accurate representation of real life. Secondly, throughout the films entirety, other eating disorders are being referred too, like bulimia nervosa. You see dreadful effects of these eating disorders which are not made to look better than they are (having a miscarriage from bulimia).

Although there are some, I have never watched such an insightful film about eating disorders. It really sheds some light on this topic of discussion. The ending actually reminded me of a Woody Allen film, with the abrupt finish which leads you to your imagination. Obviously, Eli was going to try and get better. However, it wasn’t a happy ending for everyone from losing their babies to never being able to pursue their passion again. It was sorrowful, but not tragic. This shows just how there is a never ending cycle. Of course it couldn’t show everyone overcome their eating disorders as that’s just not realistic. Also, Eli and Luke couldn’t have made up and become friends again. Within the film anyway. The story was about Eli’s road to recovery and how she overcame her demons. Although we pity Luke and want him to be happy, it just wasn’t about it. He just happened to be a significant part of her recovery.

‘To The Bone’ has been getting a lot of backlash by ‘glamorizing’ and ‘romanticizing’ anorexia. It has even being accused of being a potential ‘trigger’ for anyone who has or is suffering from an eating disorder. However, although it may be a trigger, there is a warning at the beginning of the film about the contents. Personally, I think it is an incredible story that needs to be told. On the other hand, for more sensitive viewers it may not be the best film to watch as it shows insanely thin Lily Collins and different eating patterns throughout the movie. It does also show the negative effects of eating disorders which are difficult to watch, yet still truthful.  How can you make a film about a topic this serious, safe for people to watch? You just can’t.

The fact that ‘To The Bone’ is partially a comedy has started a lot of debates as well. Why should a film about something so important, be made to make people laugh? I did laugh during it, at Eli’s cynical sense of humor to Luke’s awkward and semi-funny jokes. Humor fitted into this film perfectly though. A film like this needs something like that to make it entertaining. At the end of the day, the directors and producers want people to enjoy watching it, as well as making them think. More importantly, the fact that these young adults were still joking and talking humorously can give other people hope. There is some light at the end of the tunnel and with support of friends, you can get through it.

This deep, sensitive and sharp film will bring you to tears, make you laugh and think. It may not be Oscar-Winning, but is still worth to watch with Lily Collins performing excellently in such a tender way. Before you make a judgement, at least watch the film!

OKJA REVIEW

For the last 10 years, Mija been living peacefully in the mountainous South Korea with Okja-A creature which is half hippo and half pig, otherwise known as a ‘Super Pig.’ When Mija finds out the multimillionaire Mirando Corporation wants to harvest Okja for her meat (as well as all the other super pigs), Mija does everything in her power to rescue Okja.

Bong Joon Ho creates a wonder with an excellent ensemble of actors for the film Okja. It must be one of the best films Netflix has ever made as it’s utterly original and fresh, while challenging some of the most significant issues in the 21st century, from vegetarianism to white privilege to what money can make us become.

One thing I should say though, is this is not a film for younger audiences. As I pressed play on the remote yesterday, I was expecting a playful, family-fun film. It is not. Even I felt sick and disgusted and even scarred as the credits began to roll.

It’s definitely a film to make you think. As a meat-eater, guilt was flooding through me by the end. Of course it was exaggerated about the treatment of animals before slaughter; the fact is the conditions for many animals are still extremely cruel and inhumane. One of the last scenes was showing how they put the animals down. The man who was doing the job did it without hesitating and without remorse. I feel as if this shows the ignorance of certain people today of different wealth, types of businesses and colour.

I’ve never cried so much in a film (maybe apart from Titanic). That is because Okja shows a version of reality, which is exaggerated and true at the same time. Businesses and people who’ll do anything for money. An opposing political group who have different morals which seem ‘right’ but can become just as extreme. The harshness of battery farming and what love can make people do. The message it gives I think is so important, which is why it’s a movie that everyone needs to watch. Somehow, Bong Joon Ho creates a mesmerizing and fascinating sensation while still completely twisted and corrupt.

Originally the ending was going to be slightly different, which more people might have enjoyed. Bong Joon Ho said in an interview “That seemed too cartoonish ― I wanted to focus on Okja alone.” The ending was fitting to the story. Okja may not be the next box-office hit, but has an incredible message which is shown in such an authentic, genuine and extremely honest way that I think both teenagers and adults need to watch and understand.

Whether this dark, pessimistic fairy-tale ends happily or not is debatable. Mija does succeed in her goal which if we were asked about at the beginning, I’m sure we would all say that’s a happy ending; by the end we are all left feeling empty inside, realizing in more depth the harsh reality of life while rethinking our morals and knowing that happily ever after does not exist.