‘The Dropout‘ is a miniseries based on an ABC News podcast recounting the story of Elizabeth Holmes and how her medical technology company Theranos defrauded investors. It was created by Elizabeth Meriwether who also served as an executive producer. It was released on the Hulu streaming service.
Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) is a young girl who dreams of beginning the next Steve Jobs. During a college trip to China, she meets a software engineer named Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews) whom she confides in and falls in love with. At college, a mean-spirited professor Phyllis Gardner (Laurie Metcalf) tells Elizabeth her planned technology will not work, prompting Holmes to drop out and found Theranos. Despite multiple setbacks, she pushes forward luring businessmen to become investors and earning the ire of her neighbor Richard Fuisz (William H. Macy). Despite learning her technology does not work, Elizabeth continues to stun the world with her machine and it soon becomes clear she drifting in the wind.
As a television show goes, it is very well-written. You are pulled into the story of how Holmes performed one of the greatest frauds in the world, despite numerous warning signs early on. Seyfriend is superb as Holmes, even getting down the fraud’s mannerisms and voice modulation. I was very impressed with that.
The same goes for the rest of the cast. Besides those mentioned above, Erika Cheung and Dylan Minnette were excellent as the whistleblowers who helped bring down Theranos. To me, Stephen Fry delivers the standout performance as the company’s head chemist who gets caught up in the rivalry with Fuisz. You truly felt sorry for this man and Fry’s acting is top-notch.
I was surprised that the miniseries also criticized, albeit in a tiny way, how modern feminism propped up Elizabeth Holmes as an icon. Of course, the professor character tried to dismiss this, but I appreciated how it was mentioned, though they could have gone way further. Seriously, she was on magazine covers, gave lectures, and the media even bought into the lie that criticism of the fraud was sexism. The miniseries gives it out in a diluted way which I doubt Hulu would if this was about a man who was a fraud.
Despite this, I still found it entertaining to watch and thought that The Dropout presented the story in an interesting and entertaining way.
Check out the trailer below:
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong Foul language, Sexual content, Thematic elements
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