WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn movie poster

WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

In theaters April 2, 2021

104 minutes

Official Selection:

Directed by:

WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn is a wild ride of venture idealistic dreams, over-reaching idealism, and at its heart corporate cultism.

Adam Neumann, bored Millennial (this is important, so calm down), thought something was missing from the corporate life he wasn’t necessarily living – a 24-hour party. Using an idea of shared workspaces and a societal camaraderie, WeWork began as a tech office space for people who needed more than a coffee house. On the surface, it was brilliant – when people from different disciplines have an opportunity to work in the same space, ideas can breed, grow and populate. Using money from venture capitalists, the value (behind the concept) of WeWork grew into what’s termed as a Unicorn – a company valued at $1Billion.  However, the value doesn’t equate to an actual ROI (return on investment), and WeWork had spectacular implosions driving the company from a $47B IPO to bankruptcy within six months.

The core of WeWork seems to be very lonely people searching to never being alone, or maybe that’s my Gen-Xer cynicism poking through the noise. Rich, bored, and in constant need of validation, Adam envisioned communal spaces, communal living, communal schools, and mandatory retreats designed to get everyone so blackout drunk they’d forget how lonely they were – or maybe that was just him. Born of communal living, his idea of WeWork feels like the story of a man trying to get back to the womb. A generation of people who don’t believe advertising a fun office doesn’t make for a productive office as spaces became cramp with overbooking and the noise, and behind the scenes, the money was running out.

You may spend the 104-minute runtime watching with your mouth open, wondering how WeWork wasn’t a Ponzi scheme because to a person who isn’t a venture capitalist, that’s what it feels like it is. In the end, you may understand with growing horror that the wealthy live “different,” and we’ll never have the luxury of walking away with a golden parachute and zero jail time for ruining so many lives.

With interviews by former employees, financial experts and using clips of Adam practicing his ultimate (if failed) grift to investors, Jed Rothstein patches together a glimpse of megalomaniac masquerading an amiable everyman peddling ideas no one wants. Coworking wasn’t a new concept in 2010. Nothing would make corporate American happier if you could take your work home to a place the also one (WeLive) and educate your kids at a school they run (We Learn), but Adam’s pitch made it seem like a bright shiny new idea that could not be ignored. For me, WeWork is a fascinating tale of why personality cults do not belong near business and why I’m wary of any corporate atmosphere that emphasizes The Company as your Alpha and Omega. I would have like to see just where all of the money went, but not enough attention was paid to the obscene amount of cash the company was hemorrhaging and how a company with so much value was constantly cash strapped.

WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn has picked up distribution through the streaming service Hulu.

Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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