Love and identity become twisted across the lines of the Internet in this documentary from filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. Nev Schulman is a photographer who one day received a surprising e-mail message -- Abby, an eight-year-old girl in Michigan, had seen his picture in a newspaper and wanted permission to paint a portrait from it. Nev gave his OK, and when he was given a copy of the painting, he was struck by how good it was, assuming that the girl was either a genius or a fraud. Nev tried to contact Abby's family, and somehow ended up in contact with Megan, Abby's sexy 19-year-old sister. As Nev fell into an increasingly complicated on-line relationship with Megan, he decided it was time to meet her in person, but when he traveled to Michigan and tracked her down, Nev learned that Abby and Megan's family were not at all what he expected them to be. Ariel Schulman, Nev's brother, began filming his brother's adventures from his first contact with Abby, and in Catfish he and Henry Joost tell this strange story from beginning to end. Catfish received its world premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Director: Ariel Schulman , Henry Joost
Cast: Nev Schulman, Angela Wesselman-Pierce, Ariel Schulman
Release Date: Sep 17, 2010
Rated PG-13 for some sexual references
Runtime: 1 hr. 34 min.
Anyone whose spent any amount of time on the internet knows were Catfish is going within 15 minutes of the film’s runtime. The marketing campaign try to sell it as a thriller with a massive “shocking” reveal but the truth is far more mundane yet true to life. The authenticity of this documentary is an interesting topic because there are plenty points were you can feel the filmmakers are pushing towards a resolution they already knows exist. So is it a documentary if its creator’s force or encourage the situation at hand? That is up to each viewer to decide for themselves, along with whether this is a mean spirited ruse to capture something real via artificial means. What Catfish (the other Facebook movie as it’s been commonly called) is, is an on the ground sample of the times we live in, the networks we use that try to make our world so much smaller but also includes a vast chasm of unknown which can’t be breached without person to person contact. Once breached, our artificial avatar based lives tend to vary greatly in the light of actual sunlight. Catfish is fascinating in concept and intriguing throughout but there does seem to be a bit of an exploitative undertone, especially in the last act, where our main character appears to lack any empathy for what’s he’s discovered. Perhaps that in of itself is another, if unintended, statement about the times this film encapsulates.