Available in Netflix, what attracted me to the series is the “true story” that inspired the series, which is based on Anna Sorokin (reinventing herself as Anna Delsey). The series can be a little disjointed, as snippets of the series will move through back and forth through actual chronology of events.
The series starts off with journalist Vivian Kent getting into a frenzy to investigate the alleged heiress Anna Sorokin and her footprints with various individuals from the high society in New York. By then Anna is already in jail. Throughout, Vivian traces Anna’s misadventures:
- Her relationship with Chase, and their parallel chase for their ambitions especially for an Anna Delsey Foundation (ADF as it is blatantly referred)
- Her wiggling into high society through various small tricks including insistence on being served, a show of arrogance, taking freebies from others with an expected privileges due to her
- The almost successful process of securing loans with the assistance of prim & proper lawyer Alan
- Vacationing in Marrakech in style with friends, leaving a trail of expenses to be paid by friend Rachel
- Constant moving around from one hotel to another, until her fooleries and non-payment catch up with her
- Her background back in Germany, and short chats with various people previously in her young life
Anna’s relationship with ex-boyfriend Chase is an enigma. Her on-off dramatic confrontations with Chase, the erratic breakdown, the dependence on each other for emotional support, their constant reminder on supportive gestures as an ambitious persona. I always wondered whether their relationship is representative of a symbiotic relationship with both parties benefitting from their status. In such cases, would anyone born with money be able to expect real love? Such depressing thoughts.
Anna’s relationship with friend Rachel is also very puzzling, the girl who ends up paying $62k for their getaway in Marrakech. The series seem to portray Rachel as a nice but weak-willed friend who gives in to Anna’s every whim. It is only in later part when she turns with a stone-heart to betray Anna, even tricking her out of rehab centre for the police to finally make the arrest.
How the lawyer Todd takes in all her shits and melt-down, is incredible. What he sees in her case, I have no idea. I actually like personal trainer Kacy’s character. Described as Ms Switzerland, I am amazed with her high emotional intelligence. Her “zen”ness, when dealing with crying scenes from Anna and Rachel, listing down very clearly what are the key issues and options for them. I thought she is the most rational person. I hated the scene when Neff rebukes her for siding with Rachel.
I am also amazed with a number of situations that are portrayed in the series:
- Anna’s “breakdown” (am not sure how much of it is staged vs actual) at the hotel when the staff disallowed them to go into the room, ultimately leading Val and Anna to contact Chase who ultimately showed up to pay for the bill.
- Anna running off with a private yacht of a young socialite, only to have the socialite chasing after her to return the yacht. Anna’s excuses and responses is bewildering, as she continues to change the subject with no seeming fear of repercussions on her lying
- Anna got into a private jet and flew away without leaving payment. Her parting words to the poor undecided staff – I have no time for this, I have a meeting to catch. I find her condescending behaviour deplorable, always acting high and mighty. The funnier bit – others actually buy into her antiques and allowed her to consume services without paying.
- The journalist, Vivian is obsessed with Anna’s life, friends and how she gets away with it. But I also found it disturbing that Vivian takes her rude encounters with her, and even sympathises with her.
- When news and posts of Anna are released in social media, people are chasing to get an update with many liking these releases. Such “likes” seems to be contradictory, she behaves badly and even dishonestly but gets “likes” from the public. What has the world become? Is
Her specialty when confronted is always change the subject, deny & reiterate her own ambitions, then growing into an embarrassing crying scene. Almost without fail, every single time when she is being confronted. I find it extremely tiring just watching the others deal with her antiques. And I fail to understand how the others are so willing to give her the benefit of doubts.
What puzzles me the most is Anna’s audacity to act as such – demanding privileges without batting an eyelid. Is it a delusion on her part? Is it all part of her act to portray herself as a rich socialite? What drives her shameless behaviour? Fortunately, I have never really experienced such behaviour and hope that I shall never experience such behaviour. More importantly, I would not tolerate such behaviour.
It is also disconcerting to see strata of society accepting of Anna’s behaviour. What kind of society values that is accepting of such behaviour? The innate refusal to call out such behaviour is potentially exacerbating such behaviour. It also makes me wonder whether it is really the naivete of the high society not to question such behaviour or the behaviour is so ingrained in the society? The sheer arrogance to demand of others, with no basic respect for others – totally deplorable.
The Netflix is reported to have paid $320,000 to Anna Sorokin for the rights to her story, which is used to repay her debt to various parties and legal counsel. While watching the series, I get the feeling that the series seems to paint Anna in a lighter note and a little more sympathetic to her. Julia Garner is actually so convincing in the act, that I really hated the character. The other characters seem to be so forgiving and accepting of Anna and her behaviour, that I find it extremely disturbing.
The actual success in using intimidation & arrogance to deceive is really a perplexing story. Yes, Anna is caught, but she harbours no apologetic gestures in her interview post-jail term. I am convinced she does not have an ounce of remorse in her bone. See snippets of her interview post jail term.
But the subsequent limelight shone seems to indicate that she is seen as a celebrity, regardless of her infamy. While watching the whole 9 episodes, I continuously rolled my eyes and extremely bewildered with her behaviour. Hopefully these are really not an indication that her behaviour is acceptable. Perhaps in the world of the rich & famous, there are different rules not understood by the common people like yours truly.
The series is not bad, but it’s an extremely perplexing & distressing series for me to watch. Morale of the story, choose your friends wisely. Get away from toxic people who are fakers. Honesty and being true to oneself are virtues that I value. The behaviour of many of the characters in the series are in complete opposite of these principles. I would be extremely miserable to be anywhere near these characters. An extremely scary thoughts, of nightmare proportion.