WeCrashed is the dramatization of the Wondery podcast by the same name, following the rise and fall of WeWork founder Adam Neumann (Jared Leto) and wife Rebekah (nee. Paltrow – yes, she is related to that Paltrow) Neumann (Anne Hathaway). The first three episodes of the series establish how WeWork came to be through flashbacks that give viewers insight into Neumann’s desperation to become someone in a country to which he’s foreign through his various failed entrepreneurial pursuits. From onesies with knee pads to a collapsible high heel – because “comfort shouldn’t be sacrificed for fashion” (a solid point) – we’re shown how well Adam can deliver an elevator pitch for his ideas and still be unable to find financial backing for them. And with no actual business experience, it’s Adam’s charisma that finally lands him investors willing to funnel money into his endeavor.
Leto’s performance as Adam is transformative for the method actor; he’s almost unrecognizable in the role. We see how easily he can manipulate people into doing what he wants by selling them his vision of the future and how grand it will be when his company truly does finally take off. Through Adam’s salesmanship, WeCrashed begins to establish itself as what it’s sold as a love story.
Much of the series’ screen time is dedicated to the relationship between Adam and Rebekah, with WeWork’s rise to the top of the office space real estate game serving as its backdrop. Hathaway’s performance does most of the heavy lifting, and with a tonal voice shift that could rival Amanda Seyfried‘s in The Dropout, Hathaway may very well be the show’s real star.
At first, you wonder how someone, as put together as yogini-in-training Rebekah could fall for a man as disheveled as Adam, who is so broke when they first meet that he’s charging for a rooftop BYOB party to cover rent for his first office space. However, by the middle of episode one, Rebekah is the inspiration behind Adam’s idea to pursue a communal office space as an actual business venture. When his venture takes off, Rebekah can pursue her dream of being an actress – just like her cousin, Gwenyth Paltrow. It proves a pipe dream, and one of the rawest scenes of the series thus far is Rebekah’s stairwell breakdown after her disastrous performance as Masha in The Seagull, when it dawns on her that she’s not meant to be an actress.
In fact, most of the series’ dramatic scenes pertain to Rebekah’s backstory, delivered through a series of flashbacks in episode three, and most notably in regard to her relationships with the men in her family. WeCrashed‘s flashbacks make clear that she’s a daddy’s girl; her father, Bob Paltrow (Peter Jacobson), was always ready to give her whatever she wanted in life; and the death of her older brother, Keith, had the biggest influence on who Rebekah would become
While WeCrashed is an interesting watch, the imbalance between the time dedicated to the two main characters’ backstories is disorienting, to say the least. Adam’s failed business attempts get too much attention at the expense of how his journey of wanting to start a business in New York came to be. There’s still plenty of room for that to change, though, with five episodes left to go in this eight-part miniseries.