Review: Inventing Anna

Some critics have described Anna Delvey as a "symptom" of the "disease" of "capitalism"—not simply a selfish crook eager for money and fame.


Anna Delvey, a German heiress who claimed a considerable trust fund, floated through New York City's wealthiest circles in the mid-'10s. She had a habit of forgetting to pay for luxury hotel bills, and once she even stole a private jet. In reality she was Anna Sorokin, a middle-class Russian-born immigrant, loaded with more chutzpah than money.

Inventing Anna, a Netflix miniseries created by Shonda Rhimes, fictionalizes Sorokin's story in a way that might be dramatically powerful but is morally problematic. The show seems designed to imbue the audience with empathy for a naive though rude girl rather than allowing viewers to harshly judge a convicted criminal who used her friends to prop up her overinflated sense of self. Caught with her hand in the City National Bank cookie jar, one prominent critic described her as a "symptom" of the "disease" of "capitalism"—not as simply the selfish crook she was.

She faked it, but ultimately she didn't make it. In 2019 Sorokin was convicted of eight felony charges that came with a prison sentence of four to 12 years. And she sold her life rights to Netflix for $320,000—a miniscule amount of money compared to what she attempted to swindle out of New York socialites. But this addictive limited series gives Sorokin, currently facing deportation, something she wanted: a fast track to fame.