‘Inventing Anna’ Lacks Where It Matters

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Published February 15, 2022
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The Montclarion
"Inventing Anna" was released on Netflix on Feb. 11. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Netflix released the limited series “Inventing Anna” on Feb. 11, and as a lover of all things scammers, I couldn’t wait to watch. But sadly, I found myself pretty underwhelmed.

“Inventing Anna” tells the incredible true story of Anna Delvey (née Sorokin), who from the years of 2013 to 2017, defrauded friends, banks, companies and hotels out of an estimated $275,000. Delvey made her way into the right social circles by telling people she was a German heiress who would be inheriting a multi-million dollar trust fund once she turned 25.

Of course, this turned out not to be true. In 2017, Delvey was arrested and in 2019 she was found guilty of eight charges, including second-degree grand larceny, theft of services and attempted first-degree grand larceny.

Julia Garner plays Anna Delvey. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Julia Garner plays Anna Delvey.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

Delvey made her way into the public consciousness after a New York Magazine article titled Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track of It, written by journalist Jessica Pressler, went viral. The crazy story caught the eye of producer Shonda Rhimes, who adapted the article into a series with the help of Pressler.

“Inventing Anna” has a lot of strong aspects, namely Julia Garner’s portrayal of Delvey. Garner’s performance is amazing; she mastered Delvey’s mannerisms, and more importantly, her interesting accent that is a combination of Russian and German. I was in awe of how close Garner made her voice sound to Delvey’s, seeing as the character’s voice is so distinct.

"Investing Anna" was released on Netflix on Feb. 11. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Garner mastered Delvey’s mannerisms.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

On top of that, the wardrobe is great. It showcases the real Delvey’s style and eye for high-end fashion. The hair and makeup are also notably impressive, really transforming Garner into Delvey.

The sets are beautiful. The fashion shows, fancy hotels and luxury apartments captured the glitz and glamour of Delvey’s VIP lifestyle. As she says in the show, “VIP is always better.”

In addition, the modern pop and hip-hop soundtrack seems very true to Delvey’s attention to trends. I enjoyed the details put into “Inventing Anna,” which really seemed to capture the character.

However, I just couldn’t get past how the show was executed.

The largest issue and my main qualm with the show is its primary focus. Rather than Delvey, it is centered on the fictional journalist Vivian Kent, played by Anna Chlumsky, who is loosely based on Pressler.

Anna Chlumsky plays Vivian Kent, a journalist at "Manhattan Magazine." Photo courtesy of Netflix

Anna Chlumsky plays Vivian Kent, a journalist at “Manhattan Magazine.”
Photo courtesy of Netflix

The drama unfolds as Vivian is composing her article on Delvey, who the journalist wants to prove is more than just “a dumb socialite.” More so, though, Vivian knows Delvey’s story is groundbreaking enough to save her journalistic integrity.

While Vivian is an interesting enough character, the narrative revolving mostly around her causes the show to fall short of what I expected. “Inventing Anna” doesn’t feel like a show about Delvey. If anything, the show could be called “Inventing Vivian.”

The time spent on Vivian’s home life could have been spent further developing Delvey’s character. It would’ve been interesting to probe deeper into her thought process. Her dialogue is quick-witted and compelling, so it’s a shame we didn’t see more of her.

Julia Garner's recreation of the iconic photo of Anna Delvey used in the Jessica Pressler article. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Julia Garner’s recreation of the iconic photo of Anna Delvey used in the Jessica Pressler article.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

With my favorite moments being flashbacks of Delvey, I was disappointed once we were snapped back into reality, as I became so invested in her interactions with characters other than just Vivian. I found myself starting to get bored of the Vivian story, especially with the whole first episode being almost entirely about her.

If I’m being honest, it took a few episodes for me to get into “Inventing Anna.” The episodes were too long and felt like mostly filler.

My main takeaway of “Inventing Anna” is the fictional drama is unnecessary, especially given how dramatic the actual story is, and its format is counterintuitive.

What the show did right was the attention to Delvey’s personality. Garner’s portrayal of Delvey was so good it made the lack of her presence even more frustrating. Because of this, along with its fascinating story, I still recommend checking out “Inventing Anna.”

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