Hulu’s ‘The Dropout’ Tells a Story of Lies, Blood, and Ambition

Ulises Duenas


Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos conned the medical industry with technologies and promises that were hollow and nonexistent. In 2015, Holmes was lauded as the youngest and richest self-made billionaire in the country and by the next year, she had lost it all. Hulu’s The Dropout is a short series that dramatizes these events. 


At the beginning of the show, Holmes is a college student who dreams of becoming a wealthy entrepreneur and inventor. After her father was hit by the Enron scandal of the early 2000s, she spurned to move forward with her dreams at any cost. Her character comes off as awkward and it feels like the script or director was trying too hard to make her look relatable. This problem slowly disappears as Elizabeth’s character becomes more and more detestable, as she actively cons investors and patients and justifies her actions by thinking it’ll be worth it in the end.



Amanda Seyfried’s performance as Elizabeth Holmes feels strange at first, but as the show moves on, you realize that things that came off as awkward in the first couple of episodes were intentional. Viewers aren’t supposed to like Elizabeth, and even though she’s only human like the rest of us, it’s hard to see her in anything but a negative light. She’s a character who  constantly deludes herself into thinking she’s doing the right thing because of her tunnel vision of chasing success. 


The show takes a while to build up steam, but once it does, you can sense the tension in certain scenes -- thanks to the directing. Shots where the camera is following a character power-walking down a hallway or frantically looking for something capture the feeling of stress that comes from constantly flying around by the seat of your pants when the stakes are high. Holmes was like the blind leading the blind, and from the first episode, the show hints that it all comes crashing down  -- like watching a train wreck in slow motion.



The supporting cast also adds a lot, with Michael Ironside, William H. Macy, and Stephen Fry lending their talents to the show. Those characters add more sympathetic roles to the story to offset how unlikeable Elizabeth Holmes gets, and it’s a smart move that keeps the show from feeling totally miserable. 


The Dropout tells an interesting story of scandal and fraud, and while this isn’t my usual cup of tea, I found myself getting drawn into the show by the second episode of this seven-part series. It isn’t a thrilling show, but it does make for an entertaining weekend watch.


Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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