56. Catfish (2010)

The Facebook Family

9.5/10
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Melody C. Roscher, Ariel Schulman and Yaniv Schulman

I know a lot of controversy surrounding this “documentary” was connected to how real the events were. But to be honest, I think this concern plays a very small role in discrediting what is ultimately a fascinating and thematically intricate film that only needs human subjects and mystery to hold an audience. Catfish – documentary or fictional-documentary – is one super neat film.

Henry and Ariel are two filmmakers who begin documenting Ariel’s brother, Yaniv, and his relationship with an eight year old artist called Abby, as Yaniv sends her photos to paint and sell in her early career as an artist. As much of their relationship is carried out through emails, facebook messages, photos and Youtube videos, Catfish documents Yaniv’s expanded friendship with Abby’s family, adding her mother Angela and her sister Megan online as ‘friends.’ Soon, Yaniv becomes more involved with Megan and an online romance leads to phone conversations and some pretty eyebrow wiggling messaging. But when the three guys get a filming gig closer to Abby’s family who live in Michigan, they are surprised by what they find.

Roadtrip down Google Maps

To go further would be to give away too much, and I feel the less you know about Catfish, the better. So without giving anything away, the credit I give to Catfish is largely due to its cleverness in piecing together simple footage into something you cannot tear your eyes from. It speaks volumes about human relationships, needs and secrets, as well as the Facebook phenomenon that has radically changed our lives without most of us knowing it, or feeling it to immediately.

I’d like to believe that Catfish is based on real events, but even if it isn’t, I think it is a thought-provoking film that deserves credit for finding such a fascinating story and delivering it with such character and intrigue that is both subtle and very effective.

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