I Turned Off the Pilot of Inventing Anna
As an avid Ozark fan, I am obsessed with everything Emmy award-winning actress Julia Garner stars in. I’ve actually been watching her unknowingly since I first saw one of my favorite movies, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks Of Being A Wallflower where Garner was on screen for literally 4 seconds playing Charlie’s middle school friend Susan.
Julia Garner is a wonder to behold not just because of her phenomenal acting but because of her stature, her look. Her signature blonde curls and pale, plain but beautiful face set her apart from every other actress in Hollywood and certainly has caught the well-deserved attention of other Hollywood A-listers such as Jason Bateman who serves as her on-screen/off-screen mentor.
Yet with all of Garner’s accolades and success, Netflix still managed to pull her into their latest disaster, Inventing Anna.
This new drama based on the true accounts of Anna Delvey/Sorkin a young woman who fooled multiple banks, hotels, and other wealthy socialites into thinking she was a german heiress features an amazing performance from garner as Anna and completely emotionally unbalanced performances from Anna Chlumsky, Arian Moayed, and others.
The first episode features narration from Garner in a fabricated German accent that perfectly sets the tone for this fast-paced, true crime adventure. When we’re introduced to our main character journalist Vivian Kent (Anna Chlumsky) however, we soon realize that this show takes its fast-paced nature to whole new lengths.
The amount of back and forth cuts from Vivian to her co-workers to her bosses and back to Vivian is staggering and discombobulating for viewers. The dialogue clashes with each character (with the exception of Garner who can do no wrong) delivering their lines in the most cut and dry way possible.
Through the pilot, Vivian grapples with her overbearing and doubting bosses as she fights to write a story about the newly convicted Anna Delvey. Vivian claims that there is so much more than meets the eye with this young con artist but much to her dismay, she’s disregarded by the Manhattan magazine higher-ups and told to stick to a wall street #MeToo story.
During this time, Vivian is also facing a pregnancy and a husband who I think is trying to be written as the realist of the relationship but just comes off as unsupportive and one-dimensional.
After ignoring her boss’s requests and receiving support from her odd group of co-workers from the annex of “scriberia” (where Vivian claims the bosses send all writers to die) Vivian ventures to Rikers prison to speak with Anna Delvey and finally we are graced with Julia Garner’s presence.
She is poised and sophisticated even dressed in the beiges and dreary grays of prison. She handles Vivian’s upbeat nature during the first visit with sympathy points, fake crying, and an eventual promise to think about letting Vivian interview her.
What’s key about Garner’s performance is that you can tell she’s faking it. As in Anna is clearly turning up the waterworks to fool this hungry journalist into believing she has a chance with her.
Garner through, about a paragraph of dialogue, is able to subtly and professionally let the viewer know that Anna Delvey does not care one bit for this woman and the only reason she’s agreed to speak with her is that she thinks Vivan can offer her something.
Garner honestly sticks out like a polished thumb amongst these other actors with her performance forcing audiences to know exactly who Anna Delvey is right away while Anna Chlumsky’s approach to her character is let’s make her super stressed but ambitious and overlooked by all the big bad men in the world and people will automatically relate to her.
I had had enough after the ultrasound scene towards the second half of the pilot episode. I clicked off of Netflix and immediately started writing this to tell my fellow Netflix watchers to just read the article about the story of Anna Delvey instead of watching this sloppy, jumpy, mini-series.
Though Julia Garner was expectedly wonderful in this role I will not be continuing with Inventing Anna and might instead just re-watch season 4 part 1 of Ozark again where all the actors, not just Garner are perfectly cast and deliver extraordinary performances that have and will see awards.