“Inventing Anna” tries to share strong message of female empowerment but falls flat


Photo From Nicole Rivelli and Netflix

Inventing Anna tells the story of a notable con artist.

Katherine Daly, Staff Writer

Netflix’s new series, “Inventing Anna” attempts to depict a time when life was crazier than fiction. The series tells the juicy story of the fake heiress Anna Delvey who swindled New York’s elite out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Every episode starts with an onscreen graphic that reads: “This story is completely true. Except for the parts that are made up.” It’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek but reinforces to the audience the changes made for the story. Telling the truth about the infamous Anna Delvey as a whole, however, would have been better instead of weighing it down with fictional embellishments. The result feels like wasted potential for Netflix, as they try to shoehorn a meaningful message at the end.  


“Inventing Anna” dances between two different timelines. In 2017, journalist Vivian Kent (a stand-in for the real journalist) played by Anna Chlumsky, is determined to crack the code of Anna Delvey who’s in prison at Rikers Island awaiting trial. Kent gives herself the mission to tell Delvey’s story and retraces her steps by interviewing reluctant peers as well as the woman herself. The small narratives and information that Kent collects are used to show the second timeline as we see a series of flashbacks that unfold the whole story to explain how it all went down. Outside of these interview scenes, the story takes a hard left and quickly slapdashes through Kent’s past as she seeks out more information. The whole affair feels disorganized and takes up a baffling amount of screen time. There’s nothing wrong with a story about a journalist and her life, however, this particular series is not the time to do that. Framing this story this way is an ill-advised choice as Vivian Kent comes off as uninteresting and plain. Kent’s ill-timed pregnancy and workaholic attitude seem outdated at best and lazy at worst leaving viewers to wonder if they had accidentally turned on an old episode of “Sex and the City.”  


“Inventing Anna” desperately had something to say to the audience with Anna Delvey informing the audience that men have committed far worse crimes than her. She feels that they face no consequences, no fallout, nor jail time. There are references to Donald Trump, Warren Buffet and Martin Shkreli but for some reason, the writing room thought that Anna is the perfect person to call people out on their nonsense. They focus more on the girl aspect of the situation despite it not even playing a big aspect in the story. It’s only used as something else that could be called back to when Anna is trying to get a finance lawyer to take her business proposal seriously. She reluctantly dyes her hair from blonde to auburn and trades in her usual glitzy mini dresses for a Steve Jobs turtleneck. This idea is so fabricated by the optimism of the writer’s room that it is laughable. Netflix desires to give the girl boss brand of feminism a try and “Inventing Anna” is unsure of what it wants to say beyond that, leaving viewers with more questions than should be possible for a simple story.