Film Review: “WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn” (Hulu)

(Hulu)

(Hulu)

As human beings, we’re always intrigued by figurative trainwrecks. That’s why both Hulu and Netflix released documentaries about the Fyre Festival within months of each other and in that same vein, Hulu has another one in the pipeline that starts streaming April 2nd. WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn examines a situation not much unlike the events leading up to that infamous island party, although similarly devious.

The documentary is told within footage from September of 2019 where co-founder and figurehead of WeWork, Adam Neumann, is having a hard time filming his segment for the company’s IPO roadshow investor pitch. It then takes you back to the recession of 2008 and the events that led to the rise of an office space rental service like WeWork and how it snowballed into being valued at $47 billion by 2019 before it was revealed to have been losing money pretty much from the beginning.

The double-titled documentary creates a character profile of not just Adam Neumann, but also his wife Rebekah and the way her role increased over time. Recent interviews include former WeWork employees, end users, and business analysts. It plays like watching a cat with a ball of yarn, starting with something that seems complete and by the end, it’s an unraveled mess. You can easily see how employees and investors were easily sold on the promises of an apparent visionary genius before slowly learning about all the ways it could never really be profitable for anyone other than him.

(Hulu)

(Hulu)

For all the similarities to Fyre Fraud (the company’s WeWork Summer Camp at one point described as “Fyre Fest gone right”), WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn is much more about how to run a business into the ground and take a lot of people down with you than about deceiving partygoers, although that documentary had some similar themes. It feels unique enough while also being aimed at the same audience that Hulu found success with through Fyre Fraud.

WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn goes beyond WeWork to explore some of “The We Company”’s other failed endeavors, including WeLive and WeGrow. It also showcases the dangers of listening to a charismatic leader and not acknowledging feelings of doubt, which would have spared investors and employees a lot of heartache and financial distress. It’s yet another example of the adage that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

I give WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn 4 out of 5 rounds of a Hawaiian rendition of “Jingle Bells”

WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn starts streaming April 2nd only on Hulu.