Year:  2022

Director:  Sophie Chiarello

Release:  Sept 19 – Oct 25, 2023

Running time: 108 minutes

Worth: $15.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

… insightful, revealing, and even at times, intuitively profound.

The Circle explores the world through the lens of primary school children. Director Sophie Chiarello employs a camera angle reflective of the kids’ height, effectively bringing the audience into their bubble. As soon as an adult walks into the picture, it becomes evident as we look up towards them.

The bustle of the schoolyard on the first day of Year 1 holds unexpected events and unknown potential; a zone of excitement and fear, which is reflected on the young faces. Kids innocently begin chatting on camera, unaware that they are being led into a social experiment in the vein of Michael Apted’s Up Series.

Spanning 5 years, the director hosts chat circles, and talks directly to the enthusiastic kids, managing to capture moments where the children are insightful, revealing, and even at times, intuitively profound. Otherwise, they are just being entertaining, as children are. Questioning techniques help bring out responses, focussing often on feelings, and designed to provoke opinions. The chat sessions are also an opportunity for the kids to express random things that pop into their heads – or to perform for the camera! At the very least, the film appears to be a great confidence-building experience for the participants.

As the years progress, Chiarello’s documentation brings a story of the subtle, gradual changes of growing up, and allows the audience to muse on the contract between their own individual thought, with the impressions of others.

The future belongs to the children; The Circle is a timely project when the trend has been of a future declared increasingly insecure by each new generation staking a claim in it.