CATFISH Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman Starring Nev Schulman
Nev: They didn’t fool me. They just told me things and I didn’t question them. That’s not fooling.
There are still people out there who consider meeting people from the internet to be a pretty dangerous thing. They might not be who they say they are or, worse yet, they could be a serial killer or something equally frightening. I challenge those people to watch the refreshingly brazen documentary, CATFISH. When they do, they will see a whole other face of danger they had never even contemplated.
In 2007, Nev Schulman is a New York City based photographer. An eight-year-old girl named Abby sent him a painting one day based on one of his photographs. The two connected through her mother, Angela, and a correspondence began that extended past these three to include other family members, including her brother, father and older sister, Megan. Before long, everyone is on everyone else’s Facebook page and wall posts and messages fly back and forth without care. Then something unexpected happened. Nev started to feel something for Megan.
They had never met but through simple online and telephone communications, they began to fall in love. Are they falling in love with each other though or with the idea of falling in love itself? Meeting someone online can be inherently misleading, both in terms of representation and the feelings that come from that. We control what we say and how we say it but so is the other person staring at their screen. And what we lack in intonation and physical gesture, we fill in with whatever we want to see. When Nev and Megan start calling each other “cutie” in their constant text messaging, they mean it but they don’t really know who they’re saying it to.
Henry Joost and Nev’s brother, Ariel, documented the experience for CATFISH, and decide that, in order for the film to feel complete, Nev and Megan will need to meet each other in person. The road this takes them down is one you’ll have to experience for yourself. It is just as frightening as it is enlightening about human interaction in this modern world. And perhaps more importantly, Joost and Schulman tackle the topic with poise and respect instead of taking the sensational approach, which would have been much easier for them. After all, when it comes to meeting people online, you can fault the methods employed if they bother you that much but the desire is the same. You can’t fault people for wanting to find love.
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*** out of **** "Catfish" is the kind of movie that would have done even better if it hadn't been advertised so poorly. The trailers make the thing out to be some sort of thriller. What we get when we actually watch the thing is a drama; but luckily, it's a good one with a heart. I do admire "Catfish" for its entertaining qualities; and then again, there are moments where the thing just wasn't all that good. But as a whole, "Catfish" is for sure the movie that you'd expect … more
That the authenticity of "Catfish" is in question is both the film's greatest strength and its biggest weakness. Directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost have repeatedly claimed that their documentary isn't a hoax, and while I'd like to believe them, I admit that I have my doubts; some of it comes off as a little too dramatic, almost as if the situation were intentionally manufactured for the sake of telling a cautionary tale of internet romance. That being said, the definition … more
“The internet is always lying to you.” - personal advice to me from Mike (Cruft), whom I initially met online in 2003. When Catfish started stirring the waters (tee hee) of art house theaters here in Los Angeles I did not know what it was about. After I caught wind from a tweet praising it, I inquired – she, the Tweeter, said she couldn’t tell me anything other than it was good and I must get to a theater ASAP to see it. Well, art house … more
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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The slipperiness of truth and lies on the Internet gets played out in unexpected ways in the documentary Catfish. When Nev Schulman receives a painting based on a photograph of his from an 8-year-old girl named Abby in Michigan, he doesn't realize this is going to lead to a long-distance romance with Abby's older sister Megan… and that this romance, conducted over the phone and the Internet, will lead to something far more troubling. It would be unfair to reveal more details of Catfish, as the process of discovery is one of its pleasures--but even if you do know the sequence of events, the movie's ultimate reward is not the revelation of secrets but the surprising and very human interactions of the movie's last third. While there is a thriller aspect to the movie--and the suspense at points is indeed nail biting--the revelation isn't the bang that Hollywood movies lead you to expect. Instead,Catfish turns sad, unsettling, and sure to inspire arguments about motivations and human nature.--Bret Fetzer