Watch of the Week: Inventing Anna

Netflix’s Inventing Anna is the kinda, sorta true story about a devil in Dior dress who worked her way into New York’s elite with nothing more than hubris and an iPhone. Produced by Shonda Rhimes and starring Julia Garner as Anna Delvey, aka Anna Sorokin, aka “the SoHo Grifter,” the story covers multiple timelines, following Anna’s ascent in New York as well chronicling disgraced journalist Vivian Kent (Anna Chlumsky)who is a fictionalized take on New York writer Jessica Pressler, whose story the show is based on.

Despite the interwoven storylines, the tale is pretty straightforward: Anna is a liar and this is how she got caught. The story is riveting, not because of what Anna did, but because of the scope of what she almost achieved. Anna didn’t merely steal a few bucks from gullible friends and wrangle a few free stays in hotels. She got high-powered, highly-respected men of great means to invest in her ideas, earning nearly upwards of $20 million for her efforts.

With her baffling inflection and transformative physical abilities Garner –best known for her Emmy-winning role in Ozark– is hypnotic as Anna. She’s a chameleon and her impressive body of work suggests a massive talent on the rise. But even though she’s great in the role, the series is plagued with the same issues that seem to ail many new Netflix series: too many installments. While episodes such as Anna’s escapades in Morocco and the fleecing Alan Reed (Anthony Edwards) are narrative highpoints, the entirety of Inventing Anna could have easily been edited to a manageable 4-6 hours, at the very least.

Ultimately, viewers are left with a captivating story about a Gen-Zer who almost girlbossed her way to the top. The series could have greatly benefited from a tighter narrative, but it’s a fun watch regardless, providing an insider’s look at the modern jet setter, where the idea of wealth is more important than the ability to pay an Amex card.

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