Inventing Anna is a new miniseries on Netflix, the latest offering from Shonda Rhimes and her Shondaland. After the success of the medieval drama Bridgerton, which will soon be coming to its second season, Shondaland returns to its familiar realm.
A drama that often includes in-depth interviews, emotional and relatable essays, and unexpectedly intelligent cultural coverage. Now based on a true story, Inventing Anna is a crime soap opera that, although it doesn’t reach the extraordinary stage, it must be admittedly a compulsive spectacle, at least for a personal writer who slashes out all nine episodes in one day. Inventing Anna casts Julie Garner as the character Anna and Anna Chlumsky as journalist Vivian Kent, with a few additions to longtime collaborators who have previously been involved in previous Shondaland productions.
Based on the same story, Inventing Anna opens in courtroom sequence, in 2017, where Anna Sorokin aka Anna Delvey was indicted for more than a few counts of theft and service theft. Meanwhile, Manhattan Magazine writer Vivian Kent (Anna Chlumsky) hears about this and is interested in her story, despite problems with senior management. He first sees Anna in the Rikers Island prison where Anna is being held and convinces her to tell her story in exchange for the fame Anna has always wanted.
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Anna Sorokina is a Russian-born German citizen who came to New York in 2013. From a nobody, she became a ‘socialite’ overnight. Soon, he made his way into New York’s elite, and ended up defrauding them for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Claiming to be the heir to a very wealthy German, he seeks to raise money to build the ADF (The Anna Delvey Foundation): an exclusive arts center, social club, hotel room and gallery space, for the upper class. But, before he was able to secure large funds from the bank, his lies and deception were exposed which led to his arrest in Los Angeles in 2017.
Dark, love-hate dynamics develop as Delvey finds himself awaiting trial, while Kent is pressed for time to uncover the truth about who Anna Delvey really is as it unfolds like a novel that gets more suspenseful as the story progresses.
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While the episodes may be long and have nearly the length of a feature film, overall they are still entertaining to watch. Of course, driven by a hefty production budget, the series does a great job of portraying many of the lifestyles of the rich and famous and their extravagant nature, to make this miniseries synonymous with a signature Shondaland twist.
When it comes to the performance of the cast, as the bearer of the titular, Julie Garner, performed quite well and it shouldn’t be too surprising for anyone to see her shine as Anna Delvey while providing a very original character. In terms of supporting performances, such as Chlumsky, Laverne Cox, Katie Lowes, Anders Holm, Arian Moayed, Alexis Floyd, Jeff Perry, Anna Deavere Smith, and Terry Kinney, it is fairly convincing.
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Best described as a modern soap opera, there is potential for an interesting story and an immersive storytelling aspect, but it seems that the creators are reluctant to go that way and prefer to commercialize and conventionalize the narrative. In the end, even though when compared to Bridgerton it is still one level below it in terms of quality, Shonda Rhimes through Shondaland is arguably able to make Inventing Anna a fairly entertaining spectacle.
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