Film Review: Catfish (Don’t Let Anyone Tell You What it Is)

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Catfish cartel promocional

You know how it goes: You connect with someone on Facebook and then connect with people in their network and pretty soon you are connected with a bunch of people you’ve never met and yet still consider “friends.”

Facebook People You May Know
Facebook will suggest “friends” for you – image by wonderfulengineering.com

The Internet and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have made it so that we can be intimate with just about anybody and never have to actually meet. No more ‘let’s go for coffee/dinner and chat’ or ‘love at first site’.

Online dating
“Love at website” – image by bundabergnow.com

In this day and age it’s more like: ‘Let’s IM and chat’ and ‘love at Website’.

Catfish is a new documentary that explores the relationship between a New York nice guy (20-something Nev Schulman) and Abby Faccio, a 10-year-old painter who is considered somewhat of a phenom in her home state of Michigan. Abby has, through the guidance of her mother Angela, been sending Nev paintings and pencil sketches for months and yet they have never met face to face.

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Catfish film – image by themoviedb.org

Nev is very receptive to Abby’s work (it’s actually quite beautiful) and has ingratiated himself into his new on-line family. Abby, Angela and Nev have become 21st century pen pals. Enter Abby’s beautiful 19-year-old singer/songwriter sister Megan Faccio.

catfish movie megan faccio
Megan Faccio – image by markcz.com

Nev and Megan begin a Facebook affair that would rival Griffin & Sabine. They chat almost everyday, post pictures of one another, trade favorite songs, IM and even have actual conversations on the phone. It would seem that Nev has found his soulmate and Megan hers. Or have they?

The tagline for Catfish is: “Don’t let anyone tell you what it is.” I’m not about to be the guy that spoils it for you.

Suffice it say, things are rarely what they seem and while I figured it out pretty early, the result is still a jaw-dropper that left me speechless for the better part of an hour.

Catfish
Catfish poster – image by dvd-covers.org

Catfish is a stunning, thought provoking documentary that is as relevant as it is timeless. We all live on-line, we create profiles on-line, we have avatars and can be anyone we want. We want to be known out there so we expose ourselves on the Information Super-Highway. This documentary takes a snap shot of an on-line reality and exploits it for what it really is… the result is heartbreaking and, ironically, wholly human.

Film Review Catfish
A scene in “Catfish” – image by csmonitor.com

If Catfish catches on it will be water cooler fodder for months. As of the publication of this review, Catfish is playing in limited release. Seek it out and experience this wonderful gripping mystery before some eager film-goer ruins it for you.

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