What is it about conmen – or as in the case of fake German heiress Anna Sorokin, conwomen – that draws us to their stories? Do they make us feel better about ourselves since we haven’t been duped?! Haha… whatever the reason may be, there is no denying that conmen stories are quite interesting to read about and watch. The latest one I’ve seen is the semi-fictionalised Netflix TV show called ‘Inventing Anna’, based on the story of Anna Sorokin.
The show did quite well, not least because of the big names that helmed it – whether it was Producer Shonda Rhimes or the main actor Emmy-award winner Julia Garner, best known for her role in Ozark.
But, my opinions rarely reflect popular ones! So read on to know my thoughts on Inventing Anna:
Anna Delvey, a German heiress awaiting her trust fund to kick in, takes New York by storm. She befriends the elite of the city, parties with them and almost succeeds in setting up a massive art gallery / exclusive club solely on the basis of promises of future payment. It is only when the third hotel bill goes unpaid, and her friend who was duped into paying a massive bill for an international vacation, sets her up, that Delvey aka Sorokin is actually caught. The series is seen through the eyes of a Journalist, Vivian Kent played by Anna Maria Chlumsky, who is researching the story for an exclusive article. She attempts to view things from Delvey / Sorokin’s perspective, as opposed to the eyes of the victims.
Right off the bat, I thought the show was average. In true Shonda Rhimes style, it thrives on excessive drama that never seems to end. Aren’t we past the age of soap operas with endless negative twists? Even though just a 9-part miniseries, the show seems like that.
Instead of dedicating eight episodes to eight different characters who were duped in quite similar ways, perhaps the subject was more appropriate for a 2-hour movie which could’ve just explored the methodology that Delvey / Sorokin functioned on – the belief that she was superior to everyone around her, solely on the basis of her amazing fashion sense, and her effective use of this belief to command people to do her bidding.
Julia Garner, who in Ozark, displays acting skills par excellence, fails to impress here because her accent constantly shifts from fake German / Russian to her signature Southern drawl. She also fails to convince me of her charm – supposedly the reason that so many of New York’s crème de le crème were duped.
The journalist is an interesting character, not least because I could identify similar aspects of her personality in my own. However, she too is excessively dramatic and her obsession with the story seems unrealistic.
The episodes move slowly, and after a while start mirroring each other… More of the same, blah, blah, blah. Only in the last 2-3 episodes do things start unravelling, helping to move the story along.
After going on a long tirade about why I disliked the show, perhaps you feel my verdict is bound to be negative. Not really! You see, despite its many shortcomings, the show is entertaining measured purely in terms of TV escapism. The fashion shown is droolworthy and the music, much like in all of Rhimes’ shows, is fabulous. So I don’t regret watching this series. Would I recommend you watch it? Only if you are a die-hard fan of Rhimes and have absolutely nothing else to watch!
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