89. Catfish

I guess around a year ago I saw the theatrical trailer for Catfish, thinking it was a Blair Witch-type thriller done on HD handicams about an online relationship gone awry… but midway through the film I learned from my wife it was actually (or allegedly) a documentary,and as the story unfolded I definitely struggled with deciding whether it had been orchestrated or not-which led to a unique viewing experience.

Anyway…   Yaniv is a Manhattan based photographer who begins receiving reproductions of his photographs, elegantly painted by a 9 year old named Abby who is a bright, young, and talented artist.  As Yaniv and Abby’s correspondence increases, he bonds with members of her family, including her mother Angela and her aunt Megan.  Yaniv’s two friends (the film making duo of his brother Ariel and a friend, Henry) begin documenting the relationship as it unfolds.   As Abby’s paintings continue to arrive in the mail, Yaniv and Megan become romantically involved online, at first talking about life and love which leads to more heated and passionate conversation.   After Yaniv invites the family to join him and Ariel and Henry in Colorado, he begins to find holes in Megan’s story, and as inconsistencies pile up Nevi becomes more and more occupied with finding out who he has really been talking to.

With a few days to spare, the trio travels to Michigan to find the real Megan, and discover whether or not Abby is even real.   While I’m not going to spoil the surprise of Catfish, I will say that it’s definitely divisive. The first hour of the film steadily builds a unique intensity and sense of suspense leading up to the big reveal, but some viewers might find the film to be nothing more than an intriguing social experiment, a hoax, or perhaps even ditch the film after the truth is revealed.  Personally I found it to be an interesting examination of a particular online relationship.  This is a tough film to fully endorse, but if you’ve ever swapped more than just a few friendly instant messages or emails with someone you’ve never met in the real world – you might just want to give it a shot.

3 stars out of 5

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Categories: 100 Films

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