Catfish (2010)

February 17, 2011

Starring: Real People?
Director: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Quick Thoughts: My first question was: is this for real? Catfish is a story so outrageous and conveniently conceived that it’s a fair question to ask. A duo of amateur filmmaker’s start documenting their friend’s relationship with an 8 year old girl named Abby and her family that he’s met through a social networking site, or more specifically, Facebook. Yes, in the same year that The Social Network, a movie that details the creation of Facebook, is likely to win Best Picture, we get a documentary that shows just how far some people will go to fulfill missing elements in their lives via the internet. What starts out as a seemingly harmless relationship turns into something darker and… sad. Without spoiling where the story will take you, I’ll just say that everything isn’t as it seems. Like I said earlier though… is it for real? These guys just happened to start filming these somewhat meaningless events that wind up turning into a completely compelling story? That’s pretty lucky and pretty tough to swallow, but if you can’t choke that down, then you have to admit these people with absolutely no acting credits under their belts are giving some pretty convincing performances. Personally, I find the latter harder to believe because as unbelievable as the story might be, none of the people involved give any indication that things are being staged… and that extends to the bonus features I watched as well. I haven’t done a lot of research on Catfish, so if it winds up being a known fact that this is a hoax, then I guess I’m an idiot, but after watching it, I think it’s legit. And that makes it creepy. And good.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: A film that definitely draws most of it’s strength on that first viewing. Once the cat is out of the bag, the intensity and mysteriousness disappears.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: No Best Documentary nomination? Fishy… Catfishy.
Nudity: None.
Grade: 7/10 (Must See)
Recommendation: Regardless of whether Catfish is a legit documentary or clever storytelling, it’s an interesting movie that explores the depths of the human psyche and the lengths someone will go to in order to cure their own loneliness or dissatisfaction in their life. Impressive filmmaking either way and the best documentary from 2010 I’ve seen.

One comment

  1. The film begs lots of questions about how, and when, it became clear any of this was worth documenting, but it certainly was. I still don’t know whether this was real or not, but despite that all, I was still interested while watching this. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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