Every now and then, a documentary comes out that reels you in and leaves you more knowledgeable about something you knew very little about, thanks to innovative storytelling about real life events. It’s exciting to learn something new about the world we live in and to do so in an engaging manner. Unfortunately, much like its name, “WeCrashed” fails to do so.
AppleTV+’s new drama miniseries “WeCrashed” tells the real-life story of the rise and dramatic downfall of the company WeWork. For those who are unfamiliar with the company, WeWork was founded in 2010 by CEO Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey as a communal office space designed to give people a space to work and connect beyond the traditional cubicle setting. The company skyrocketed in the 2010s, reaching a net worth of $47 billion at its peak, before crumbling into near bankruptcy by 2019 when the truth of the company’s finances (which evaluated to a much lower $10 billion) was revealed as WeWork prepared to become a public company.
The drama miniseries stars Jared Leto (“Suicide Squad”) as Adam Neumann and Anne Hathaway (“The Devil Wears Prada”) as his wife Rebekah. In the first few episodes, it becomes apparent that Adam is obsessively determined with getting rich and finding success however he can. There isn’t a specific moment when this becomes clear, it comes in bits and pieces that paint Adam as an erratic and unnerving person. He channels his thirst for success into overwhelming charisma and confidence that manages to win over many skeptical investors and employees who otherwise would not have been involved with Adam and WeWork as a whole. Adam’s unnerving nature made the show slightly uncomfortable to watch, which maybe was the point, but nonetheless, it didn’t exactly leave me wanting more.
Rebekah struggles with some of her own insecurities about identity, constantly comparing herself to her real-life cousin Gwyneth Paltrow. Rebekah constantly feels overshadowed and seeks validation wherever she can, making her and Adam a perfect match. Both have a clear need to feed their egos; their feelings of entitlement are evident from the very first scene. Adam and Rebekah both have such few redeeming qualities, making the show even more difficult to watch.
With only the first three episodes out so far, there is still much farther to go on the journey of WeWork’s downfall, including the cult-like environment that began to grow — which I was not even slightly surprised by, given the self-centered image the audience is given of the Neumanns. Watching the narcissistic couple on screen wasn’t nuanced enough to be enjoyable, but the annoyance I felt when watching them could be a testament to the actors’s skills. Who knows?
All in all, “WeCrashed” left me confused. Sure, it’s an interesting enough story, but not interesting enough to warrant a full-scale documentary-style show instead of a short article. The biggest issue with “WeCrashed” is that it really just doesn’t feel necessary; it’s difficult to tell who the target audience is or why the story is important enough to have a series in the first place. While watching the downfall of the 1% is interesting in theory, the poor execution of “WeCrashed” is enough to overshadow an otherwise appealing idea. Further, WeWork didn’t make the same impact or reach as many people as major companies like Apple or Google or Facebook did, so it felt even more out of touch. There are still five more episodes to come, so maybe more interesting commentary is on the horizon, but given the show’s trajectory so far, it doesn’t seem likely.
Daily Arts Writer Jenna Jaehnig can be reached at email@example.com.