Movie #32: Catfish

While it was definitely not the movie that I had expected, Catfish was also much more engrossing than I expected. I didn’t know much about the movie going in, but I thought that it was a mockumentary. Actually (despite some controversy around the question), it’s a straight documentary. Nev Schulman, a New York photographer, receives a painting from a young artist (we’re talking 8 years young) named Abby based on one of his published photos. She’s skilled beyond her years, and they start to correspond over Facebook (the social networking web site). Quickly Nev gets to know not only Abby, but her mother Angela as well. Nev’s brother Rel is a filmmaker who decides to make a documentary about Abby and the friendship that his brother is building with her and her family. Through Facebook, it’s not long before Nev also becomes acquainted with Abby’s much older sister, Megan. As he gets to know Megan’s friends and follows all the posts on her Facebook page, their relationship deepens into a long-distance romance. Nev and Megan begin exchanging phone calls and text messages frequently, like a regular couple, but they’ve still never met face to face. When Nev notices peculiar oddities (Megan claims credit for a song recording that was lifted straight from YouTube) and things don’t quite add up, he starts to get suspicious. He does some digging in order to uncover the truth about this girl, and that’s when things start to get really interesting. If you already know what the twist is (and I had already been spoiled on the this), it doesn’t play out the way you’re probably expecting. If you only think you know, then you will probably be quite surprised at what happens when the truth comes out. These days, so many of us put ourselves out there on the Web and there are so many ways to reach out and share with other people. Ironically, these social technologies bring people closer while at the same time isolating them. Some people doubt the factualness of this movie, but whether or not it was staged, its story does present an intriguing tale of identity, truth, deception, and the desire for connection that are all big themes for life in this digital age. (4 out of 5)

32 down, 18 to go!

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2 thoughts on “Movie #32: Catfish”

  1. I was discussing ‘Catfish,’ with my boss at Dish, and he thinks this is a documentary also, but a friend of mine who works in films pointed out that there is a marker in one of the scenes of the film. I have not had a chance to watch this movie yet, but I’m curious to find the flaw in the film. I have a Dish Online account, and can conveniently watch this movie on my laptop while on my long train ride home from work.

  2. I’d be interested to hear about whether you find the marker, because while Catfish seemed real/unstaged to me, some parts also seem a bit hard to believe.

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