Catfish is 2010 film which earned a limited release after appearing at the Sundance Film Festival and creating a buzz. It has since earned a release on DVD and Blu Ray, and I managed to snag it in my DVR queue as it’s currently showing on Cinemax.
The film is purportedly a documentary, but there has been much debate as to the authenticity of that claim.
I have to admit, I’m skeptical myself.
The movie revolves around Nev Schulman, a young photographer living in New York with his brother Ariel, a filmmaker. When an 8-year-old girl named Abby sends Nev a talented painting based on one of his photographs, Nev gets in contact with her through Facebook. It turns out that the girl is a bit of a painting prodigy. Due to her young age and the comparative calibre of her work, her art is drawing local recognition, sales, exhibits, etc.
As she continues to paint art based on his photos, Nev’s brother (the filmmaker) begins to film and document their exchanges. Abby’s parents call him and friend him via Facebook, as well, and soon, so do her older brother and sister. And as people who use Facebook know, eventually this leads to friending a whole new bunch of people. Friends of friends of friends…
As the relationship with Abby’s family builds, Nev begins to find himself in a budding online relationship with Abby’s older half-sister, Megan. Before you know it, things are beginning to get relatively serious.
However, when Nev discovers that some of Megan’s songs she’s been sending him are actually internet downloads and not her own singing, Nev decides it’s time to meet the family in person.
What follows is an emotionally packed journey of discovery that touches on an entire host of themes. Social networking, discontentment, childhood dreams, reality, friendship, romance, loneliness… there are others, I could go on.
Plus of course the constant wonder in the back of your mind as to whether or not the film is being staged or not. For myself? I have to imagine it was staged, or at the very least, recreated from a certain point working backwards. But I dont mind. I went in watching it as a work of fiction from jump street and found it to be engrossing, involving, and in the end, extremely thought-provoking.
A- Check it out!