The Netflix Original drama series, Inventing Anna, begins each episode with a disclaimer: “This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up.” The series remains a big question mark because of the deception of the main character.
The series, which is based on an article written by Jessica Pressler for Manhattan and was created by Shonda Rhimes, follows Vivian Kent (played by Anna Chlumsky and based off Jessica Pressler) as she works to write the story of Anna “Delvey” Sorokin (played by Julia Garner). Following the layout of the article, the show bounces between associates of Anna’s as they share what they experienced while being her friend.
Through this style of storytelling, we see all different versions of Anna Delvey (the last name an alias) as she tries to grow interest in her business, “The Anna Delvey Foundation.” From carting around luxurious cities around the world to sitting on a subway eating a stranger’s leftover Shake Shack, Anna Delvey and her place in life remain an uncertainty to the watcher and the characters in the show. Even the narration at the beginning of the first episode is no indication of what type of journey you’re about to embark on while watching. This narration isn’t present anywhere else in the series.
Although the timeline becomes clear in the end, it remains a piece that bounces around up until the last episode. With flashbacks to different parts of Anna’s charades, Vivian begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Each friend of Anna is notated on the screen before Vivian dives into their story. These pieces come together to reveal Anna as a con woman who claims to be a German heiress.
Unfortunately for the journalist, she deals with a pregnancy throughout her time working on the article. This plot point remains in the forefront as Anna torments Vivian as she approaches motherhood and aims to restore a damaged journalistic reputation.
Vivian’s struggles to restore her credibility and remove the “bad journalist” stamp that remains after a story is published before being properly fact-checked. This plotline is relatable, as no one wants to make a mistake in their career field and be labeled a certain way because of it.
Thinking about Rhimes’ other work such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, this type of drama shouldn’t come as a struggle to her. However, Rhimes made a choice when creating this series: she chose to mix fantasy with reality over creating a re-enactment, like the beginning disclaimer implies. For me, this leaves me wondering what of this is true and what isn’t? There’s no obvious answer for those who haven’t done research or read the original article or the rival one written in Vanity Fair that’s also discussed in the series.
All of the build-up ends with three key events: Vivian gives birth, her article is published and goes viral and Anna’s trial begins. After a rush of popularity, Anna is surprised to find the courtroom practically empty at the beginning of her trial. This lack of support shows how little impact she really had on the socialites of New York City that she was fraternizing with.
The whole series is just a taste of a life that many dream of living and work towards for their whole lives. Julia Garner portrays Anna Delvey as a woman who makes her dream a reality with words and appearances. To Garner’s character, living a life of luxury means scamming her way through thousands of dollars. If there’s one thing we can take away from Inventing Anna, it’s as she says in the beginning of the series: “I work for my success. I earn my accomplishments. Pay attention. Maybe you’ll learn to be smart like me.”