There are two main characters in the new Netflix miniseries by producer Shonda Rhimes Invented Anna, are all based on real people. The first is Anna Delvey (played by Julia Garner): a cunning and stubborn mysterious con man who a few years ago tricked several well-connected wealthy people and many of the City’s high-profile institutions. New York believes she is a European aristocratic heiress and fundraiser. . Born in Russia as Anna Sorokin, she spent time in Germany, London and Paris before visiting New York and found it strangely confusing to enter the social circle of the wealthy. . Then she became a minor celebrity after Her story has been told by reporter Jessica Pressler in a 2018 New York Magazine long profile.
The second main character in Invented Anna was Pressler… but not quite. The show was officially adapted from Pressler’s article; and she is one of its producers. But her character (played by Anna Chlumsky) was renamed Vivian Kent, and the magazine she writes for is now Manhattan. While Vivian shares a number of biographical features with Pressler – most notably, the lingering sting of a great professional embarrassment – the name change indicates that Vivian should not be seen as the exact same person who wrote the story in New York.
There is nothing wrong with this switch. Movie and TV movie producers are always looking for details of true stories: for legal reasons, for poetic licenses, or because the use of real people’s names and details may be impeded. violate. (Pressler isn’t really a public figure, so maybe she insists on change.) It wouldn’t be fair to criticize. Invented Anna based on whether or not Vivian resembles her real-life inspiration, because that’s clearly not what Rhimes and her team set out to do.
That said, it is remarkable How characters have been fictitious, because that tells what the narrator thinks makes a compelling protagonist – and why a journalist’s life might need tweaking to be “more dramatic” .
Invented Anna starting with Vivian at the low career stage. Once a rising star, she made an all-too-obvious mistake in a sensational article and then watched a new prestigious gig evaporate. Now, she’s nailed down at her old job in Manhattan, stuck in a corner of the closet amid old-fashioned unfashionable magazines, where she half-heartedly pursues any trendy story. specified by her editor. She is also heavily pregnant, but ignores the advice of her friends and husband to take early maternity leave, as she is determined to regain her lost prestige.
The story of Anna Delvey could be Vivian’s last big blow. It covers many of the quintessential New York themes: An immigrant reinvents himself in a land of opportunity; preoccupation with predictions of success on a real basis; and the sometimes destructive result of FOMO’s jealousy in a city where someone always outperform others.
This is also the main material for the Shonda Rhimes project. Although Rhimes made his name with the hit medical thriller Grey’s AnatomyThe most influential shows from her production company Shondaland are Scandal, How to get away with murder? and Bridgerton: stories about the ways in which powerful people flex their privileges and how they can be put down by petty people with grudges and perversions.
Invented Anna states many things that Rhimes fans enjoy about her work. The characters are shown extensively but not animated. The villains have classes; Heroes have weak points. Shiny surfaces, fluid dialogue, and an eye-catching cast. (In particular, Garner seems to enjoy Anna’s various statements: speaking with a thick Russian accent; mocking Vivian for her frugality; and philosophies on how to be great.)
In addition, the plot is very engaging, relying heavily on uncovering mysteries. As Vivian learns exactly what Anna did – and how she almost got away with it – Rhimes and her writers continue to offer suggestions that this story may be bigger than what the reporter said. Our bravery realized, because many New York elites would be humiliated by it. The rather provocative series suggests that Anna could be seen as some sort of folk hero, using the snobs of the wealthy themselves against them.
But here is a mistake that is hard to ignore. The biggest is Invented Annaabsurd length. Most of its nine episodes last over an hour, with one episode being around 80 minutes long. Honestly, there isn’t enough source material to justify this. Although Pressler’s original article was called “a long read” by those in the publishing industry, it was still roughly the length of a short story. To solve this problem, Rhimes and company continued to publish the original article in New York (sorry, Manhattan), to show some of what happened next. They also delve deeper into the characters, exploring their personal lives and conflicts.
This is where the fictionalization of a real-life journalist as “Vivian” becomes most notable, as she becomes the Hero of a story more and less of a person who actually exists. Right from start, Invented Anna makes Vivian a daredevil, taking a “better apologize than ask” approach to his work. When her boss – rather inexplicably – doesn’t see potential in Anna Delvey’s work and instead insists that she continue working on a “Wall Street #MeToo” story, she ignores him. me, as she has yet to see another institutional sexual exposure as disturbing as her ticket back to the big time.
There are many investigations on footwear in Invented Anna, as Vivian chases interviews and collects documents, presenting the detective’s function in a crime story. But rather than framing the Anna Delvey work as an opportunity for Vivian to say something revealing about New York’s celebrity culture and fortune, the article is presented more as a glittering award she must won, to silence her doubts and make up for her failures.
This particular way that Vivian’s character is focused Invented Anna remember the year 2019 A beautiful day in the vicinitywhich features Matthew Rhys playing a fictional character based on reporter Tom Junod, who wrote the 1998 heart-stopping thriller. Mr. The article about Mr. Rogers inspired the film. The film emphasizes the personal problems and career struggles of the Junod impersonator, rather than the grand prizes the real-life writer has won. Similarly, fictional Vivian doesn’t share Pressler’s biggest win: write articles was adapted into a hit movie in 2019 Hustlers (was developed before the Delvey fragment). Clearly, letting the characters be respected and done brilliantly doesn’t make for a good story.
What kind of gap between dramas idea of a journalist as a pursuer of truth and the practice of honing the reality of his work are both all too common in fiction. Freeform TV series Bold Type offers some of the more accurate depictions of modern journalism, with the fashion magazine staff dealing with confusing corporate bosses and the pressures of having to trend positive on social media. But even that performance often falls short. Typical type Bold Type The characters’ day consisted of sitting around a wonderful office in downtown New York in the morning, talking about a Very Important Problem they wanted to solve in a magazine, then dealing with the problem. self-doubt and internal political pressure all afternoon before late at night hastily removed a short column mostly written in first person.
True, it’s not like a cop, lawyer or doctor – or indeed a member of any other profession – is often accurately portrayed on screen. But given that so many people venture into the show business to start out as writers, it’s strange how often they’re so clever at letting journalists act as characters. Invented Anna not so serious as some TV shows or movies where reporters lie, break the law and even sleep with sources to start stories. But as great as Chlumsky is in the role, her Vivian still tends to be obsessed with success in a shallow way – and unlike writing something impressively compelling, exploratory and polished like Pressler’s actual Delvey article. The work is rarely considered an end unto itself.
It is also noticeable in the case Invented Anna that the story of a forger who misled a wide range of New Yorkers – by creating a familiar appealing image – was itself carefully crafted to be more conventional. This series does not show much interest in understanding what a journalist really does or why; it’s more about understanding the motives of a general underdog struggling to make personal corrections. In the end, both protagonists remain unclear, because they define their specific goals less than by meaningless desired action.
[Disclosure: Vox Media, Polygon’s parent company, also owns New York magazine, which published the Anna Delvey article.]
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