• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 18, 2019
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Mar 15, 2019
    90
    Alex Gibney’s enthralling documentary about the mesmerizing Elizabeth Holmes.
  2. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Mar 18, 2019
    85
    The Inventor is one of those documentaries that -- unlike The Edison -- really gets under your skin.
  3. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Feb 27, 2019
    80
    A complicated story in a briskly compelling narrative enlivened with sharp interviews, resourceful footage and terrific computer graphics.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Goldberg
    Feb 27, 2019
    75
    It’s hard to know her motives even though that’s what Gibney is eager to find. So we have to judge her by her actions, and those actions are deeply unflattering. ... Instead, The Inventor is at its best when it looks at how Holmes conned respectable figures who bought into her narrative rather than taking a hard look at the data.
  5. Reviewed by: Amy Glynn
    Mar 18, 2019
    68
    As competent as it is, the film just doesn’t bite very hard.
  6. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Feb 27, 2019
    67
    Like a lot of Gibney’s work, The Inventor functions most reliably as a fast-paced, involving summary, one occasionally enlivened by the little, revealing bursts of personality he captures from his various talking heads. But as in his Assange doc, We Steal Secrets, Gibney can’t entirely compensate for the (admittedly understandable) void at the center of his portrait—which is to say, for the fact that he couldn’t land an interview with his main subject.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Barsanti
    Mar 15, 2019
    63
    While The Inventor is filled with bright details and sharp asides that puncture Silicon Valley’s self-mythologizing fabulism, it doesn’t make a strong enough attempt to get behind Holmes’s messianic aura.
  8. Reviewed by: Nick Allen
    Feb 27, 2019
    60
    In his fervor to sell you on this story and to keep you interested, some filmmaking techniques tend toward corny, like his opening voiceover telling you that this is “a compelling story,” or tacky graphics that get in your face, like a pair of dice being thrown to illustrate a metaphor. And as for the curiosity, sometimes it leads on tangents, taking away from the tightness. ... But when “The Inventor” is running through the small downfall of Theranos, the whistleblowers and Holmes’ own detachment from reality, the documentary can be fascinating.
  9. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Feb 27, 2019
    58
    While The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley is another of its director’s lucid and ruthlessly straightforward forensic analyses, the film fails to engage with many of the fascinating questions it raises along the way.
  10. Reviewed by: Eliana Dockterman
    Mar 18, 2019
    50
    In two hours, Gibney does an efficient job of recapping the rise of Theranos to a $10 billion valuation and its epic fall. ... But Gibney never quite connects the dots between Holmes and the factors that facilitated her rise.
  11. 50
    The Inventor ultimately can’t decide if it’s about the specific, contained absurdities of the Theranos scam, or the phenomenology of scams like Theranos. There’s certainly plenty of material to pore over on the former, but any attempts to go bigger-picture feel surface-level and abbreviated. ... But when Gibney stops to savor some of the specifics, the film is at its best.
  12. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Feb 27, 2019
    50
    Gibney can’t decide if Holmes is a crook or just overdosed on her own ego. Mostly, he fills time with scene after scene of her posing at photo shoots while she waxes on about extending lifespans, or he gets loopy with voiceover.

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