The Dropout

By Joanna Langfield

Now that all 8 episodes have dropped on Hulu, this gangbuster of a series makes for a terrific binge. Because this story of true, brutal ambition is impossible to stop watching.

There’s been a lot going on, so many of us may have missed what happened with Elizabeth Holmes, the beautiful Stanford dropout who developed healthcare technology that made her very, very rich and famous. Wooing investors such as George Shultz, Larry Ellison and Rupert Murdoch, the very young entrepreneur built machinery that Walgreens put in some of their stores, to expedite blood testing and make it more accessible to the masses. Problem, though. The machinery did not work. And Holmes wasn’t taking no for an answer. She lied to her Board, she lied to her partners, she lied, perhaps, to herself.

It’s hard to imagine this could be a fun watch, but it is. A smart team of writers and directors keeps the information flowing, reminding us along the way that Holmes doesn’t get away with what she did. And they’ve brought along a top flight company of actors, all of whom give crackerjack performances. Shoutouts to Naveen Andrews, Elizabeth’s lover and partner in crime (currently on trial), Stephen Fry, Alan Ruck and Sam Waterston, all caught up by the enigmatic Holmes. And I loved the tag team who bring her down, including a dandy Camryn Mi-young Kim, Dylan Minnette, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, LisaGay Hamilton, and especially William H. Macy and the inimitable Laurie Metcalf.

But none of this would work if it weren’t for Amanda Seyfried’s canny take on Holmes, herself. As Elizabeth did, too, I guess, Seyfried fascinates and compels, portraying someone who might be a sociopath, who could have Asperger’s, or is just a young woman in way over her head. It’s the best work I’ve seen Seyfried do. Well done to all.