Indie Gems: Catfish
Real or Fake?
That's a question you will hear a lot when discussing Catfish. Is this a real documentary? If so, was this happening in real time or did the film makers take the time to recreate it? Or was it simply just a good story with some shady marketing? I'll get the marketing part later, but these questions really don't matter to me. I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed it whether it was real or made up, the point is it was interesting and deserves to be watched.
Catfish follows a photographer named Nev who has been communicating over Facebook with a woman named Angela for months. His friends began to shoot a documentary on this relationship. Angela's 8 year old daughter Abby is a fantastic painter and has sent Nev paintings of his own photography. Abby is too young to talk to Nev on the phone, so he speaks with Angela and gets to know her circle of friends through Facebook. This includes Angela's other daughter, Megan. A beautiful singer/dancer who starts an online relationship with Nev. Nev and crew are dying to meet this family, but they soon realize things aren't starting to add up.
The story is great because it probably speaks for a lot of online relationships. You think you're talking to one person, than after a little digging you find out you're not and your caught up in someone else's imagination. That's the power and the beauty and the sometimes dangerous thing about the net. You can be whoever you want to be. There's a few different reasons that I say marketing let this film down. The first is the trailer. The very first trailer I saw for this made it seem like a horror movie. Like something scary was going to happen, and I actually was expecting that. I'd only seen a trailer for this once before I decided to watch it, I wasn't disappointed in not getting a horror film because the finished product was so good, but I can see where others might. The second is the timing, Catfish had the unfortunate moniker of "the other Facebook movie" because it was released so closely to The Social Network. The third is telling everyone it was a real documentary, only for the film makers to sort of admit in Q&A that it wasn't. They could've had everyone believing it was real, but they stumbled in Q&A and that's where they got all of their doubters.
Despite all this, Catfish is a smart and intriguing film. All of the questions over it's validity don't really matter because the characters are interesting and it keeps a great pace. It's a wonderful story no matter what.
Memorable Quote: "Who are all these other people.?" - Nev