A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Has intriguing things to say about wealth and celebrity. As one character says about New York society, "Everyone here wants something: money, power, image, love."
Positive Role Models
Financial misdeeds are at the heart of this story, and most characters are transparent about wanting wealth or influence, and doing devious things to get either or both. A hard-working journalist breaks Anna Sorokin's story while she's pregnant, presenting a potent example of a working mom.
The two central female characters in this story are both White, but many other characters are people of color in strong, intriguing roles. Sorokin's best (only) friend is a young Black woman who has a professional job and is smart, great at her job, and acquits herself with dignity and a stern view on what she expects from others.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual talk is infrequent. In an interview, a woman says she and Anna "made out a few times" and that she wasn't the first girl Anna had "been with." In another scene, a character says Anna was uninterested in sex.
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Language includes "f--k," "f---ing," "f----r," "s--t," "bitches," "hell," "ass." Insulting language, like when Sorokin's character opens up the series saying viewers are "nothing" and "dumb." Some off-color language, like when a colleague tells Vivian that a baby will "come shooting out of your hoochie."
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Products & Purchases
The pursuit of wealth and luxury are at the heart of the Sorokin story. Expect to hear brands mentioned (Chanel, Dior) and to see the trappings of luxury: elegant spaces, expensive restaurants, fancy cars and clothes. Money is mentioned frequently, and one character is distressed when anyone near her looks "poor."
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink cocktails, beer, and wine at gatherings and events; no one acts drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Inventing Anna is a drama based on the true-life story of a woman who impersonated an heiress in New York City, and who was made notorious by a widely read 2018 New York Magazine article. The real Anna Sorokin story is bound up with financial fraud, as well as with financial, cultural, and artistic institutions and rarified social circles. Expect to learn more about these people and places, and to consider whether the trappings of luxury are worth it all, and were worth it to Sorokin. Language includes "f--k," "f----r," "s--t," "bitches," "hell," and "ass," as well as contemptuous language from the Sorokin character, who calls people "fat" and "dumb." She also frequently criticizes other characters for looking "poor." Brands are mentioned frequently, including fashion designers and luxury cars. Real-life banks and hotels are given fake names. Sexual content is infrequent, though a woman briefly mentions she "made out" with Anna. Characters drink cocktails, beer, and wine at gatherings and events; no one acts drunk. People of color are in strong supporting roles, and characters vary in terms of age, body type, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Is It Any Good?
The true story it's based on is fascinatingly bizarre, and so is this series stocked with sublime actors -- but using the journalist who broke Sorokin's tale as an entry point was a tactical error. It's true that the 2018 New York Magazine article "Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track of It" was the story that made the faux heiress instantly notorious, and it's not a terrible framing device. Start with a mystery and then slowly unspool it: That's classic TV storytelling. The problem is that there's so much of the journalist's story, and that her arc is so much less compelling than that of a fake socialite who managed to worm her way into some very high circles. That, and Anna Chlumsky bites off her role with entirely too much teeth, grimacing distractedly in scenes that call for something, well, less.
The story starts to pick up steam once we meet Neff, the concierge at the tony NYC hotel where Sorokin lived for months. As Sorokin's only actual friend, she has insight into both what Anna did and why she did it, and as we begin to chart her misadventures through flashbacks, the less interesting journalist story fades into the background more pleasantly. Self-assured and quick, Alexis Floyd gives a smart, arresting performance as Neff, just one in a show simply filled with fine turns, from Julia Garner's pitch-perfect take on Sorokin's unusual accent and sly way of speaking, to Laverne Cox's vibrant depiction of Sorokin's personal trainer. It's enough to carry you through the scenes that are on the tedious side, knowing you'll get to see Garner or Floyd momentarily in this imperfect but undeniably juicy true tale.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.