By Shivani Srivastava
“Inventing Anna” tells the true story of Anna Sorokin, a young woman who pretended to be wealthy heiress Anna Delvey and took the world by storm in 2017 when she allegedly scammed acquaintances, banks and hotels out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
However, as intriguing as this plot sounds, the show manages to convolute Sorokin’s story with unnecessary details and characters, resulting in a not-so-true story. For comedic effect I suppose, each episode begins with the statement, “This whole story is completely true. Except for all of the parts that are totally made up”.
Let us pretend that this show is not meant to follow an order of real events — because it did not — and treat the plot, characters and storyline as we would any fictional show. Even so, “Inventing Anna” is far from a masterpiece.
The show opens with the protagonist, Vivian Kent, a struggling yet talented journalist who encounters Sorokin’s story in the papers. Initially, Kent seems to be an empathetic human who wants to give Sorokin the chance to tell her own story. However, not even 10 minutes later, we realize that Kent simply wishes to regain her reputation in journalism with a story like Anna Delvey, the woman who outsmarted the rich.
Over the course of nine slowly paced episodes, Kent tries to piece together Anna Delvey’s identity and story. As we meet more characters and learn new things, the storyline becomes increasingly confusing. Anna herself is meant to be a brilliant con artist who captivates everyone around her, but the actors and script do more telling than showing with their 1-dimensional acting. In the first two episodes, the only parts of Anna’s character that are revealed is her arrogance and the fact she uses other people’s money to fund her lavish lifestyle.
To top it off, Kent overreacts with every new addition to the story, which makes the show frustrating to watch at times. I often found myself scratching my head, genuinely confused as to what this show was trying to tell me. The only thing that made me click to the next episode was the desire to clear this confusion.
Ultimately, two messages emerge from the show: first, Anna becomes a sort of feminist icon — or at least the show tries very hard to make her one, constantly pushing the idea that she is a self-made businesswoman. Second, the show glamorizes her for lying to people who trusted her and using their money by simply going with the idea that the rich people deserve what she did. The victims of her scam are painted as villains, ignorant, or both, while Anna Delvey herself is the victim of society and prejudice.
So, should you watch this show? Even with its flaws, “Inventing Anna” makes for some good entertainment to pass the time. It is just good enough to make you want to keep watching to know what exactly is going on. Therefore, I recommend you give it a try, but with low expectations, and you might actually enjoy it.