Who doesn’t want to become the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates by creating something that speaks to an entire generation? Although the idea of co-working space wasn’t anything new, WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann found a way to reinvent and sell it in a way millennials and investors would buy into his “We Revolution”. Entrepreneurship or simply a corporate cult?
What started as a game changing way of working under the slogan “Do What You Love” turned into a scam beyond imagination. While journalists from Forbes, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal are interviewed, as are former We staff members and clients. Filmmaker Jed Rothstein mostly focuses on the face (or the hair) of WeWork, than on the company itself. Co-founder Miguel McKelvey is barely mentioned in this insightful and often entertaining documentary, but real partner-in-crime/wife Rebekah (Gwyneth Paltrow’s niece) is eager to stand front-and-center to share the spotlight as this true bizarre power couple’s ideas become more and more self-indulgent than world improving.
The documentary gives us a nice overview of what the company stands for and who Neumann is as a person as well as a business man. That comes in handy when you, just like me, aren’t really familiar with the WeWork-scandal, while Rothfield also explores how, within a 6 week period, the company went from peak to near bankruptcy.
Coming from Israel, Adam moved to the US and just like many immigrants that came with a desire to live his American Dream. In a way he has made that dream come true, but without all the gimmickry and his business practices exposed to the public and his work-hard-play-hard-employees, the entire concept of his “community” turned to dust as his greedy lust for power becomes an all consuming path of no return. Another thirty-something man with a God-complex, when will the world learn?
Rothstein’s documentary is a fast paced and fascinating character study of Neumann, although I personally would’ve liked him to dig even deeper, but maybe that’s just my desire for sensationalism speaking. Nonetheless, Hulu’s ‘WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn‘ shows us once again to not fall for the charms of a self-proclaimed visionary with a business model that would have Billy McFarland drool all over.
Hulu will release ‘WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn’ on April 2, 2021.
Review – ‘WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn’
Reviewed online (screener provided by Hulu), March 28, 2021. Rating: TBC. Running time: 104 min.
PRODUCTION: A Hulu release of a Campfire, Forbes Entertainment, Olive Hill Media production. Producer: Ross M. Dinerstein. Executive producers: Mimi Rode, Tim Lee, Michael Cho, Kyle Kramer, Ross Girard, Danni Mynard, Rebecca Evans.
CREW: Director/writer: Jed Rothstein. Cinematography: Wolfgang Held. Editing: Samuel Nalband. Music: Jeremy Turner.
CAST: (self – archive footage) Adam Neumann, Rebekah Neumann, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher.