By Eve Nevelos, Editorial Staff (‘24) 

Netflix’s Inventing Anna follows journalist Vivian Kent’s investigation into Anna Sorokin, a con artist who stumped New York’s elites. Anna Sorokin, who changed her name to Anna Delvey, claimed to come from German nobility with a $60 million trust fund. She instead came from a poor Russian family and had no real accreditation. However, she fools a private equity firm into lending her dozens of millions of dollars for a start-up, tricking New York socialites into promoting her persona, convincing her wealthy big-tech boyfriend to pay for her lavish lifestyle, and conning businessmen into bankrolling her luxurious travel.  

Eventually, Anna does get caught. 

Sorokin’s personality is interesting to watch on screen. Her ability to manipulate or gaslight other characters to get exactly what she wants is fascinating. Her personality shifts in every relationship in every direction to play to her associates’ weaknesses. For example, Sorokin influences Alan Reed, a private equity firm executive, to hand over approximately $40 million to her without proper proof of funds by fulfilling a daughter role, knowing that Reed’s daughter wasn’t making him proud in the way that Sorokin was able to. 

Inventing Anna is excellently cast and produced. Shonda Rhimes, the executive producer and creator, is most notably known for her continued production of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. The parallels between Grey’s Anatomy and Inventing Anna are hard to miss — the swish-pan transitions between scenes, similar background music, character dynamics, and fast-paced script — which is great for people who like modern soap operas and dramas, but it does feel familiar and predictable (a positive aspect for some viewers). Overall though, the show is clean. While watching, there is no doubt that Vivian Kent is Vivian Kent and not Anna Chlumsky, the actor, because she was cast so well (the same can be said for all characters in the show). The settings and backdrops feel authentic to New York and to the plot. 

All of that being said, the series lacks the depth that Shonda Rhimes typically delivers on. Vivian Kent was portrayed as a one-dimensional character. She almost exclusively talks about Anna in all the scenes she’s in, constantly asks, “How the hell did she do this?” and lacks a personality and fully-developed character outside of her journalistic job. Instead of being multi-faceted, Kent is just an obsessed journalist working a job. 

Inventing Anna is based on reality. Much of the story remains true to Anna Sorokin and Jessica Pressler, the journalist whose name was changed for the series. 

Inventing Anna is comparable to HBO’s The Inventor: Out for Blood, about Elizabeth Holmes and her scam invention Theranos, and Netflix’s Fyre, about Ja Rule and Billy McFarland’s failed festival. The story of Anna Sorokin isn’t unique. Sorokin was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison and has had deportation threatened. Similarly, McFarland received a 6-year sentence and Holmes a 20-80 year sentence.Inventing Anna is the perfect show to have on in the background of doing mundane tasks or watching while sick, but it certainly isn’t something to be zealous about. The series is a show to watch for the beautiful set design and fabulous fashion choices more so than the plot or script. Inventing Anna receives a 3-star rating from this reviewer.