Netflix Specials Cover Crimes of Deception
Recently, Netflix released two specials: Inventing Anna and Tinder Swindler. With similar subject matter, both of these shows have captivated audiences. I took the time to watch them to give readers of The Meredith Herald an inside perspective.
Released on Feb. 11, Inventing Anna is a nine-episode series that takes place in 2019 and details the life and trial of Anna Sorokin. Based on a true story, this series starts shortly after Sorokin has been arrested after deceiving banks, friends and hotels out of thousands of dollars.
Sorokin moved to New York in 2014 under the name Anna Delvey. Masquerading as a wealthy German heiress, Sorokin successfully infiltrated the lives of New York’s elite. Sorokin, being ambitious and cunning, takes it upon herself to create the Anna Delvey Foundation (ADF) without a single dime to her name. This dramatization also follows the story of a reporter for Manhattan Magazine, Vivian Kent, as she races to finish her story on Sorokin before giving birth to her first child.
The characters you meet throughout the show are the social and fiscally elite, but they aren't always who they seem to be. As the episodes progress, you learn that the true victims of Sorokin had their own motives and reasons for befriending or trusting her.
The show, produced by Netflix in collaboration with production company Shondaland, has received mixed reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 63% rating and IMDb giving the show a score of 6.9/10.
It is important to note that this series is a dramatization of the true events and some incidents and characters have been changed to match the narrative format and keep audiences engaged in the show.
Tinder Swindler was released on Feb. 2 and retells the stories of three women involved in different relationships with a man named Simon Leviev. This man claimed to be the heir of the wealthy diamond business owner Lev Leviev. However, Simon is not who he says he is. After wooing each woman on a fantastic and lavish first date, Leviev quickly gets serious. These women start to receive texts, images and voice messages from Leviev asking them to take out loans and transfer money in their names. Leviev says it is all in order to keep him safe from his “enemies.”
According to the documentary, Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte were all defrauded of thousands of pounds by Leviev (whose real name is Shimon Hayut). After the success of the show, a GoFundMe page was started to help the women pay off the debts incurred from trusting this man.
Both Inventing Anna and Tinder Swindler have left lasting impressions on those who have watched them. Fan bases have even gone as far as picking sides. I personally believe that both shows were engaging and interesting despite their serious subject matter. I would highly recommend watching both.
By Rachel Van Horne, Associate Editor