The Dropout review: Elizabeth Holmes and her multi-million dollar scam

The Dropout is a must-watch for its realistic portrayal of a true story (Image via IMDb)
The Dropout is a must-watch for its realistic portrayal of a true story (Image via IMDb)

The Dropout delves into the illusive multi-million dollar scam carried out by Standford dropout Elizabeth Holmes. It is the story of how a young girl managed to convince people into believing and investing in her dream, which ultimately turned out to be nothing more than an illusion.

Released on Hulu today, the show offers a fascinating insight into the dreams of a young girl who soon took a dark path. Starring Amanda Seyfried in the lead role, The Dropout is a must-watch for its realistic portrayal of a true story.

Visionary dropout who dared to dream big

Hulu released three episodes of The Dropout today on its streaming platform, and Amanda Seyfried has already won hearts with her performance. The Dropout has been adapted by Elizabeth Meriwether from the ABC Audio podcast about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. As a 23-year-old biotechnology entrepreneur, Holmes promised to change the world of diagnosis and pharmaceuticals with her revolutionary blood-testing device.

Growing up, Elizabeth had only one vision - to become a billionaire. Focusing on her dream, she never lost sight of her aim of inventing a product that would change the world of medicine.

When Elizabeth was a student at Standford, she developed an idea for a game-changing machine that could run a wide array of blood tests at home using only a single drop of blood from the patient.

However, it didn't take her long to realize that her idea was half-baked when none of the prototypes worked. Despite that, Holmes dropped out of college, launched Theranos, and built a multi-million dollar company using illusive tactics. She appeared on the cover of magazines and featured in TV shows, managing to draw the attention of Silicon Valley with her youthful and marketable appearance. But in the end, it was all a big scam.

The Dropout is a nuanced portrayal that makes no attempt to pass judgement

What is interesting about The Dropout is the number of perspectives interwoven in the storyline. The series is not just a tale of a fraudster and her inevitable fall; rather, it tells the story of the people involved in the scam, their anxieties, motivations, and ambitions. It portrays those who were trapped in Elizabeth's deception, like the various researchers, engineers, and board members who bought into her vision.

One of the things the show highlights is how Holmes was never a charismatic leader, yet her own self-belief infected others into buying her lies. Despite barely looking her age and being awkward in social situations, she somehow managed to talk people into buying into her ideas.

Going by the show, it is hard to label Elizabeth Holmes. She does not come off as a mad genius, nor does she cut an attractive figure of an entrepreneur. If anything, she seems like a naive college dropout and at times, a schemer who knows what she is doing.

The show is interspersed with clips from her trial, where we see a different version of Elizabeth Holmes which almost compels us to pity her and forgive her monstrous deeds. The series is a wonderful mixture of perspectives and narratives that all weave into something both astounding and horrific at the same time.

The Dropout also features an appropriate soundtrack by artists such as LCD Soundsystem and Justin Timberlake. But what resonates with the entire theme of the series (and was Holmes' favorite song to listen to), was I am in a Hurry by Alabama. It speaks volumes about Elizabeth and her dream, and the road she took to get there.

Overall, the Amanda Seyfried starrer is a must-watch docu-series for its amazingly nuanced portrayal of a scam artist who shook the world.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee