Inventing Anna

Inventing Anna
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Anna Sorokin is a nobody.

But Anna Delvey is a German heiress with access to the most elite establishments in the world. 

It’s no wonder Anna would rather be a fake somebody than a real nobody; willing to commit fraud, identity theft, and burn through friendships and credit cards so that she can be Delvey, not Sorokin. Extravagant dinners, exclusive hotels, and jet-setting worldwide is the premise for Inventing Anna, a Netflix nine-episode limited series based on a true story. The show is outrageous, exhausting, obnoxious, and I loved every minute of it. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not forecasting any Outstanding Drama nominations in Inventing Anna’s future, but the Shonda Rhimes-produced show starring Julia Garner as Anna Delvey/Sorokin is wildly entertaining. Its storyline and characters are well-crafted enough to make me care about the life troubles of a materialistic, 20-something, Kim Kardashian type. The fact that it’s also a true story (“except for the parts that are completely made up” as we are reminded at the beginning of every episode) kept me tethered to a plot that seemed too unbelievable.

The show also plays heavily on the basic human need for community and friendship. The desire to fit in. In one episode, Anna Delvey is confronted by her boyfriend, Chase (Saamer Usmani) about why she continues to build her foundation, albeit through a high-wire act of false identity and extravagant opulence.

Anna responds, "Who am I? I'm building something … and I will stand at the top of it! The gatekeeper and the glue. … I have to build this so artists and people like me will finally have a home. Somewhere safe. A place where they finally belong. A place where I belong. Are you going to stand in the way of that? Or help me?”

As a pastor of a young and growing church, I recognize this is what many of us want, a community, but on our terms. Like Anna, we want a place where we belong, but we also want to be the gatekeeper and the glue. We want interdependence, but at the same time, we want to stand at the top of it all. As Christians, however, Inventing Anna is our reminder that the perfect community is a unicorn. Instead, we know that the covenant community is quite the opposite. By definition, a Christ-centered community is one where we don’t share everything in common, but we share the main thing, and that is enough. I’m reminded of a quotation from Alia Joy in her book Glorious Weakness, “It’s not a community until someone you don’t like shows up.” Inventing Anna takes a heavy-handed approach to gender inequality and the male-dominated world of finance and greed, but in the end, it is a fun show and teaches us about the importance of friendships, loyalty, and the necessity for self-sacrifice to sustain real community. (Rated TV-MA, for mature audiences only. Netflix)

About the Author

Daniel Jung is a graduate of Calvin Seminary and lives in Honolulu, Hawaii with his wife, Debbie, their two children, and their long-haired chihuahua. Together, they serve at HCPC Living Stones EM (www.livingstonesem.com), a Korean-American multigenerational ministry located in the Upper Manoa Valley.

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