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Catfish (2010)

DVD Cover (Rogue Pictures)
Directors:
Henry Joost Henry Joost
Ariel Schulman Ariel Schulman
Starring:
Nev Schulman Nev Schulman
Ariel Schulman Ariel Schulman
Henry Joost Henry Joost
Angela Wesselman-Pierce Angela Wesselman-Pierce
Melody C. Roscher Melody C. Roscher
User Lists:
> Best Films of 2010

7.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Biography (Non-Fiction), Computers, Culture & Society, Documentary, Sociology
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 31, 2010
During the first half-hour of "Catfish" I was certain that I was correct in my assumption that the entire film was a fraud -- a cleverly conceived mockumentary about an online relationship that turned into a mystery. I was giving the filmmakers credit, in my head, for doing such a spot-on job of presenting the material. Then, something happened...something I didn't expect. "Catfish" took a turn. It was then that I realized -- not only was the film real, but also one of the most intriguing and heartbreaking films I'd seen. "Catfish" is a real documentary with real people, as inflated as they might sometimes seem. If I turn out to be wrong on this -- give everyone involved with this film Academy Awards for acting. The last act of this film is nothing short of a masterpiece.

The documentary follows a man named Nev who is a photographer in New York City. He is contacted online by an eight-year-old girl named Abby who wants to use his photographs as inspiration for her paintings. She is an artistic prodigy who sells her artwork all over and has exhibitions all around. Nev is honored and agrees and they begin a relationship via Facebook and the United States Postal Service. Nev also strikes up relationships with Angela (Abby's mother) and Megan (Abby's older sister), with whom Nev becomes entangled in romance. All is going well until Nev discovers that Megan might not be totally what she appears to be. This suspicion grows and grows which prompts Nev and his friends to dig deeper and deeper, slowly uncovering a mountain of lies that would suggest Nev has been fooled by some online pranksters of some sort.

This story kicks into high gear when Nev and his friends decide to make the drive to Michigan to see whether or not these people are real and just what is going on. What they discover will stick with you for a very long time. Writing this review is frustrating because I want to explain to you why I enjoyed this picture so much, but doing so would require the kinds of spoilers I just cannot bring myself to give. Just take my word for this -- you might anticipate where the ending is going, but you'll never ever predict how it will make you feel. I was emotionally floored by the material and consider it to be up there with "Tarnation" in terms of its ability to evoke such response from the audience. It's also a nice warning to those of you out there on social networking sites, blindly believing everything you come across. "Catfish" should be required viewing for those of you like that.

Kudos to filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman for having the foresight to know a good story. I don't know what made them decide to start filming this odd online relationship but I am glad they did and glad they have given us such a wealth of information. Kudos to the subject, Nev Schulman, for being so willing to put himself out there and expose us to his life, his pros, his cons and his ultimate conclusion. "Catfish" is one of the most entertaining, engaging and thought-provoking documentaries I have ever seen. It ranks right up there with "Tarnation", "Gates of Heaven" and "Roger & Me" as one of the best documentaries I can remember. I hope it finds a wider audience and I hope you avoid spoilers at all cost. 10/10.
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Chad #1: Chad - added 12/06/2010, 02:45 PM
I have no idea if this movie is legit or not - as is the case with most movies like this, I've read "concrete proof" that it's all fake, and I've read "solid evidence" that it's 100% legit. I'm kinda guessing that it's fake due to my gaydar going off non-stop throughout the movie (seriously, that leading man doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd be interested in women), but hey, I could be wrong. Anywho, I did enjoy the movie... if it's fake, it's a damned engrossing story regardless, and if it's real, then it's an engrossing yet sad piece of film. 8/10.
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