‘The Dropout’ Review: Fascinating Story That Just Gets Better
It is called “The Dropout” and it’s the new limited series from Hulu. The series is based on a ABC
It is called “The Dropout” and it’s the new limited series from Hulu. The series is based on a ABC news podcast of the same name. And, the podcast is about Elizabeth Holmes. Ok, now that we have all of that straight, let’s talk about Holmes, the series, and the woman who plays her, Amanda Seyfried.
First, a super quick catch up on who Elizabeth Holmes and why it is that a young woman would grab the world’s attention and end up the subject of a series on Hulu.
Elizabeth Holmes is the big brown-eyed, blonde-haired young Stanford dropout who founded a billion dollar company. Theranos, the biomedicine company (half ‘therapy’ and half ‘diagnosis’) promised to revolutionize the medical world with a single drop of blood.
Holmes hatched the idea before she was 20 and had such passion and fervor for it that she would talk the wealthy out of millions in order to invest in her company. The idea, she touted, was a simple one: use a few drops of your DNA to unlock over 200 diseases potentially hidden in your body. It would be done with a simple machine that she invented. Oh, and that gadget was as convenient, if not more so, than getting your early cup of Starbucks.
The problem however was that her machine didn’t work. Perhaps because it was designed to do a task that was not possible. Imagine asking your Keurig to drywall your home. It can’t. Not anymore than Theranos could deliver what it said it could.
Eventually it was discovered that Holmes was defrauding the world and the one time queen of Silicon Valley was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. That of course was after Theranos was valued at over 9-billion dollars and Holmes was named the youngest female self-made billionaire. In fact, there’s a good chance you saw her long string of interviews with various media outlets or numerous magazine cover articles.
The Dropout – The Series
Amanda Seyfried is Elizabeth Holmes in “The Dropout.” It is important to note that the series is ‘inspired by true events’ so there are some liberties taken with the show.
But that’s not for lack of interesting content or facts about the founder.
The truth is Holmes did start out her career as a mousy brown haired, higher tone in her voice, young girl. The truth is Holmes did pay little attention to her appearance and often looked clean, but disheveled. And, yes, she did model her clothes after Steve Jobs, wearing all black.
The series does not include her family heritage. For the record, her family a generation or two up is the Fleishman family. The series has her father working, and losing, his job at Enron.
Starring alongside Seyfried as Holmes are: Naveen Andrews as Sunny Balwani, Dylan Minnette as Tyler Schultz, Sam Waterston as George Schultz, William H. Macy as Richard Fuisz, and Michael Ironside as Don Lucas – all real life people.
Seyfried is a treat to watch as Holmes. Her performance only gets better as her character transforms from an idealistic young know-it-all to a lie-to-your-face dictator of a businesswoman. She has a remarkable ability to look both courteous and terrified simultaneously.
Other standouts are Naveen Andrews as Sunny. He is a character that I loved to hate as the series goes on. First feeling sorry and sympathizing with him to downright wanting to punch him squarely in the neck. Then of course there is the always amazing William H. Macy.
See it or Skip it
While only seven of the eight episodes were screened, overall the series was a fast and easy watch. Whether you are familiar with the story or not it is a fascinating one to learn about. Given this group of actors, it’s an even more fascinating story to watch.
Perhaps it’s the actors getting more comfortable or perhaps the story pacing is faster towards the end, but the series gets better and better with each passing episode.
“The Dropout” has dropped the first three of eight episodes on Hulu. New episodes will premiere every Thursday.