‘Inventing Anna’ Rebuttal


Anna Sorokin character vs. reality

The May 18 edition of The Forum included a review of the widely anticipated Shondaland Netflix limited series drama, Inventing Anna. Staff writer Medha Sharma described the drama as a “major buzzkill … like one you fall asleep to.” Medha is not alone in her disappointment. Rolling Stone magazine found the show to be “an overly long muddle, never quite sure what it wants to say about its title character, or how to say it.” Proving the truth of the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” here is an entirely different perspective of the show: Inventing Anna is engrossing, thought-provoking, and illuminating.

For me, interest in the show derives from one critical characteristic that some reviews don’t even mention: The story is true! While the series itself begins with the cautionary warning: “This Whole Story is Completely True, Except for All the Parts that are Total Bull#$%t,” a quick google search reveals that when it comes to the main protagonist, Anna Sorokin (AKA Anna Delvey), almost everything reenacted in the show actually occurred in real life.

The fact that most reviews find fault within a character who the audience can’t decide whether to love or hate testifies to the mystery of the real Anna Sorokin. For example, is she really fake and narcissistic for fabricating an image on Instagram? Isn’t that what basically everyone does on Instagram? In trying to make it in a competitive and cutthroat business world, is there a difference between selling a product and selling oneself? And does being wealthier really mean you are smarter? (Inventing Anna spoiler alert: no).

The side characters of Vivian Kent, portraying real-life New York magazine writer Jessica Pressler, and Delvey’s lawyer Todd Spodek, have more fictionalized storylines, but even here the show highlights some pretty interesting real-life questions.

Throughout the show, both Vivian and Todd display incredible loyalty and devotion to Anna. We see Vivian giving up time with her newborn, while Todd misses out on family vacations. This loyalty left some viewers confused, as their attachment to Anna—an often conniving fraudster—felt silly and unrealistic. Even here, though, I felt that Shonda Rhimes delivered on her trademark of incorporating compelling social commentary into her shows. Both Vivian and Todd have to make sacrifices for their success, while many others in their world prosper simply on account of their wealth, gender or connections. Perhaps here is where we can find some answers to the perplexing question of why a young, pretty Russian immigrant might come to America and think she can make it to the top of Wall Street with no credentials. Anna Sorokin would not be the first to make it in America on false merits with a little help from her friends.

Alas, a life of luxury was not sustainable for the real Anna Sorokin, who currently sits in ICE custody awaiting her deportation to Germany. Something about knowing the actual fate of a person makes you want to dig deep and understand where it all went wrong. Add Inventing Anna to your summer binge list—it will keep you buzzing.