At the Movies: Catfish

I was invited out this morning to watch the documentary Catfish with my friend Loli. I accepted not know a single thing about this film, which was a good thing. I had a totally open and unbiased opinion. She told me some background about the movie the night before on the phone, but being a Man, I totally forgot what she said except, "meet me at the theater around 10:10." I actually forgot the name of the movie when I showed up, but I was early and went to look at golf equipment at the Sport Chalet. This worked out in my favor, because now I could just stand in line with her and learn the name of the movie. I make a few jokes about the movie title, Catfish, because I had no idea what it was about.

"Maybe it's about a giant Catfish that eats people."

"Maybe it's about a guy who's in love with a catfish."

"Maybe it's about a man who falls in love with a woman and she looks like a catfish."

My friend Loli first found about about this film through a combination of Facebook, from a friend, and then on an interview on the Ellen show. After watching the movie, I find the Facebook connection rather appropriate.

Catfish is a documentary about the personal relationship Nev Schulman, a New York Photographer,  develops with, Abby Peirce, an 8 year-old artist from Michigan, who paints one of his photos printed in a newspaper. Abby sends Nev the painting and their friendship began. What follows is Nev taking several other photos which are re-painted by Abby. Nev soon develops a friendly relationship with Abby's Mother, Angela, Abby's Father, and Abby's older Half-Sister, Meg. Once Meg is introduced, the real plot of the documentary begins with Meg and Nev developing a long distance relationship via email, text and Facebook. During a work trip by Nev, his brother, and their friend to film a dance festival in Colorado, the 3 discover clues that begin to shake Nev's resolve in his online relationship with Meg and her family. Nev takes the opportunity to head to Michigan and uncover the real story Meg and Abby.

I don't want to get too in depth with this synopsis because this is a documentary that everyone should watch. The basic premise of the movie is something that has been a concern of mine for a while. How do you trust the friends you make online though social networks, emails,and  instant messages? Personally, I don't usually correspond to people I don't know in real life. I've made a few friends with people I met on online games, but our friendship is solely based on that game and does not extend beyond that world. Also, my job requires me to manage project and people that are not physically located near me, but again those relationships usually don't extend beyond the confines of work. I have concerns with people who readily make friends with people they met online and easily develop true feelings for that person based on their online persona. We've all read and heard several stories of people whom break out of the confines of medium that attempt a real life relationship. But then again, I've done online dating so I guess that makes me something of a hypocrite...

Overall this film was very enjoyable as a documentary. It does a good job of capturing the budding relationship that Nev has with Abby's family via emails, Facebook, and phone calls. The production of the movie is very on the go, with some of the film taken with professional grade cameras and a point and shoot cameras using the video capture feature. This actually sold me into the movie more, because it made it more relatable because it felt like something I would do if I was a young 20-something. When they use Google Earth to show the transition from city to city, I was sitting too close to the screen to appreciate this low budget trick. At my distance, it was nauseating. The film did a great job of showing the range of emotions that Nev went through as you went through all of the plot twists throughout the film. I have to give credit to Nev's friend who helped Nev and his Brother realize the sensitivity they had to bring to this unique situation. I actually found myself becoming emotionally attached to people in this film; indifference, joy, and anger .

I recommend this film to anyone who has a Facebook page. I think I'll be talking about this movie for years to come. I don't want to ruin the plot line to the film, but even if you have basic understanding of the whole story, how it's told will bring you to the theater. If I had a rating system, I would give it 4 out of 5 (that's something I'll have to work on before the next film review.)

Additional Link:

IMDB Catfish -


Official Website:

Catfish - Official Trailer