Lifestyle, Movies & TV

Five incredible documentaries and true story dramas to binge after ‘Inventing Anna’

Netflix may have hit the peak of its documentary craze with “Inventing Anna” this February, a drama series based on the real story of fake German heiress Anna Sorokin — also known as the “Soho Scammer” — who fooled Manhattan’s elite out of thousands of dollars. The binge-worthy show dominated Netflix’s charts and shot to number one in the Top 10 ranking in just the second week of its release. Most noteworthy about the show were the cast’s performance and the sheer fact that the shocking events, though dramaticized, were in fact, true.

Now that you’ve binge-watched “Inventing Anna,” you’re probably looking for more documentaries and shows with stories that are as outrageous as they are astonishing.

Here’s five more shows and documentaries to put on your list.

Lucas Zhang / DFP Staff

The Billion Dollar Code

“The Billion Dollar Code” on Netflix intertwines two narratives based on a true story, first of which is set in the late 90s. In Berlin, Terravision — the creation of a designer and programmer duo who use satellite images and other altitude data to produce a virtual representation of Earth — comes to life.

The other story is set in 2010, as said designer and programmer prepare to sue Google for using their technology to create what is now known as Google Earth. Through fictitious characters, the 2021 German mini-series dramatizes the true story of Berlin company ART+COM and their patent infringement battle with the American technology world.

Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

Netflix’s 2019 three-part crime documentary chronicles the viral story of a group of Facebook users who attempted to track down Luka Magnotta — the Canadian killer who was arrested in 2012 for the murder and dismemberment of engineering student Jun Lin.

Magnotta had posted anonymous graphic videos of himself torturing and killing kittens, angering internet sleuths and motivating them to find the man behind such horrific acts. Using any and all details in the background of his videos, the people of the internet began an amateur investigation that would eventually bring Magnotta to justice, but not before he killed Lin. Though the investigation was not without its mistakes, netizens’ teamwork and resolve portrayed the power of the internet and what exactly happens when one f**ks with cats.

The Tinder Swindler

Director Felicity Morris, who also directed “Don’t F**k with Cats,” returned to Netflix in 2022 with “The Tinder Swindler” to document the events of a scam no one thought imaginable.

The film follows the story of three European women and their very similar narratives of meeting Simon Leviev — the supposed son of a diamond billionaire — on the popular dating app Tinder, only to be scammed out of millions of dollars with his seemingly charming promises and affection. As the film introduces each woman, it also reveals the full magnitude of Leviev’s scheme, made up of lies just as extravagant and fake as his lifestyle, before he was eventually arrested with the help of his victims.

The Act

“The Act” is a 2019 drama series on Hulu based on the true story of the murder of Claudine “Dee Dee” Blanchard in 2015. Starring Joey King and Patricia Arquette as mother-daughter duo Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard, the show follows Gypsy’s life in a wheelchair due to the many chronic illnesses and disorders she suffered from since a young age. Wanting more independence, Gypsy begins to rebel against her suspiciously protective mother.

Their relationship takes a turn for the worse as she finds out her mother had been lying about her illnesses which had included leukemia, muscle dystrophy, epilepsy and sleep apnea — all of which had also kept her heavily medicated, dependent on a feeding tube and sitting in a wheelchair. Unable to escape her mother, Gypsy eventually hires her internet boyfriend to kill Dee Dee, who was suspected of having Munchausen Syndrome by proxy — a mental illness that causes caretakers to invent fake illnesses for the person in their care.

Worst Roommate Ever

“Worst Roommate Ever” is one of Netflix’s most recent docuseries, retelling variously haunting stories of people who experienced cohabitation with some very dangerous and violent roommates.

The first episode recounts the murders of Sacramento serial killer — Dorothea Puente. After welcoming tenants to her boarding home as a seemingly harmless grandmother, she drugged and killed victims and collected their Social Security checks before being convicted and sent to prison in 1993. Her story is just the first of five tales that account similar stories of truly the worst roommates ever.

These shows and documentaries may not offer quite the respite from reality you may be looking for, but the stories told are just as compelling and binge-worthy. Watch if you dare!

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