TV Show Review: “Inventing Anna” exposes realities of wealth, greed, corruption

“There is a little bit of Anna in all of us.”



Netflix committed a great act of hypocrisy in their attempt to comment on the dark realities of wealth and greed; only time will tell if it was worth it.

MIA PUZZO, Evergreen columnist

As a journalism major, I have always loved investigative TV shows, whether they are true stories or fiction-based. So when I saw “Inventing Anna” appear on my Netflix page, it is safe to say I was automatically intrigued.

“Inventing Anna,” created by Shonda Rhimes, is based on the infamous Anna Sorokin – also known as Anna Delvey. Delvey is a Russian scammer that posed as a German heiress and was arrested after allegedly defrauding banks, hotels and friends for a total of $275,000. 

The fraudster, who had artist philanthropy aspirations, became famous after an article was published in New York Magazine in May 2018 by reporter Jessica Pressler, who is known as Vivian Kent in the Netflix original.

For some reason, Vivian’s character desperately wants to believe Anna and paints the picture that she is a failed go-getter with a good heart. This does not exactly make sense considering that Anna continuously insults Vivian for the way she dresses and calls her “fat.” 

While based on a true story, it seemed that Netflix had to do what they love to do – dramatize to the max. Many plot elements were added in to enhance suspense, mystery and melodrama. The show starts every episode by saying that everything here is true, “except for the parts that are completely made up.” 

How much of the facts revolving around the characters is true? Does Pressler actually have a friendship with Delvey in real-life, like portrayed in the show? Doubtful, considering the circumstances. 

With all that being said, “Inventing Anna” brings up one subtle yet eye-opening message: everyone uses everyone else to get ahead in life for money or for power.

This is apparent with every single character in the film. For instance, the journalist Vivian is exposing Anna to everyone she took advantage of. Hypocritically, Vivian is also using Anna to get ahead in her journalism career. 

 The show also comments on how the only reason Delvey was able to scam all these people was that they were also using her for their own gain. People thought that doing business with a prominent person would get them even further ahead.

My favorite line from the show is in Todd’s (Anna’s Lawyer) testimony. 

“There is a little bit of Anna in all of us,” he said.

As much as people do not want to admit it, it is true. 

People are shocked that this happened in the first place and that Delvey almost got away with all of it. No one ever questioned her because people do not want to question wealth or power. 

They want to believe it because THEY could possibly benefit. That is the real message of the story in my eyes.

With that being said, I feel like the message could have been done in a more effective and timely manner. 

The show is a bit of a time commitment with ten oppressively long episodes that are over an hour each. Why they could not have cut the show in half the amount of time? I cannot tell you.

In the show, they make it clear that the only reason Anna agreed to be interviewed for Vivian’s article was because it would make her famous, and she did not care how she got there. 

While the show does not deny Anna as a manipulator, they also over glorify her for being a visionary genius. The retelling of Delvey’s fraud is presented almost as a revenge story of besting New York power players. 

However, I think most of us would agree what she did was extremely unethical.

Interestingly, the real Anna Delvey was recently released from jail in February 2021. 

Delvey was paid a large sum of money by Netflix for her story and received a total of $320,000. According to Insider, she paid $199,000 of it in restitution, $24,000 in state fines and $75,000 in attorney fees. 

It kind of sounds to me like Netflix did exactly what they are calling people out for – used others for their own gain. 

The trial was in 2018, and since then Delvey seemed to be mostly forgotten about in the eyes of the public. However, with the new rise of the show, Delvey is unfortunately now in the public’s reign once again. 

Was it worth it for a show? Only time will tell.