The Netflix series “Inventing Anna” puts accents in the wrong place and waters down a suspenseful crime. The “Next Episode” series column.
The Netflix series “Inventing Anna” wants to tell an exciting and true story: How a young woman in her twenties managed to make her way through Manhattan’s high society and as false heiress Anna Delvey saved New York’s elite by hundreds of thousands of dollars to cheat. But despite the fascinating basic material, the series does not know where to go and, above all, how.
Inventing Anna on Netflix: Anna Delvey betrayed New York’s high society
Inventing Anna is based on a 2018 New York Magazine article about Anna Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin. She was born in Russia and grew up in Germany. Between 2013 and 2017, she defrauded banks, hotels and acquaintances in New York by posing as a wealthy heiress who was just waiting for her trust fund to be paid out. She was convicted of grand larceny and fraudulent services, charged in 2017 and jailed from 2019 to 2021.
The Netflix narrative begins with Manhattan Magazine journalist Vivian Kent – loosely based on Jessica Pressler, the woman who wrote the 2018 Delvey story. Vivian Kent researches Delvey and interviews her in prison to piece together the puzzle of who this woman is. Still, the series somehow leaves viewers hanging when approaching the character Anna Delvey.
“Inventing Anna” on Netflix: Portrait of Anna too exaggerated
Actually, you have the feeling that you should be on Anna’s side, like Vivian, whose journey in search of the “real” Anna we finally follow. Is it strong how this twenty-something is pulling money out of these rich men in New York? But that doesn’t work. Anna is far too unsympathetic and arrogant, like a spoiled child she is convinced that she is entitled to this luxurious life.
It is incomprehensible that Vivian and another friend of Anna’s fight for her later at the court hearing – simply because the series gives no reason to be on Anna’s side. In the end you still have to watch how three people almost tear each other apart to get the stubborn Anna a chic outfit for her court hearing. The series owes the motivation of the characters.
“Inventing Anna” should have stuck to the interesting truth better
Inventing Anna feels disorganized as a bewildering amount of screen time is devoted to Vivian’s career issues, her pregnancy, and her relationship with her husband Jack. This time would have been better invested in Anna Delvey, in her actions and her deceit, in which far more and different things happened than is shown in the series.
Inventing Anna, one season, on Netflix.
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Each episode begins with the statement, “This story is absolutely true. Except for the parts that are completely made up.” What’s certainly tongue-in-cheek says something about Inventing Anna as a whole: This series should have stuck to the interesting truth rather than burdening it with fictitious embellishments. The end result feels like wasted potential.
Netflix’s portrayal of Anna Delvey is a halfhearted attempt to make her more tangible
In the end, the series character Anna is still a stranger, despite the attempt to get closer to being “human”. The real Anna Delvey is indeed a mystery — and the show should have kept the character just as enigmatic. The Netflix portrayal, however, is a half-hearted, superficial attempt to make it more tangible for us.
Like Anna Delvey herself, the Inventing Anna series offers a lot of flash and little substance. Which is just a shame given the exciting case it’s based on. (Sonia Thomaser)