Critic Consensus: Catfish may tread the line between real-life drama and crass exploitation a little too unsteadily for some viewers' tastes, but its timely premise and tightly wound mystery make for a gripping documentary.
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Critic Reviews for Catfish
If you begin with the premise that all films, docs and dramas, are constructs of one sort or another and it's the how and why that's important, you'll have fun pulling this apart.
Is is all a stunt staged for the cameras? If so, then why isn't it more interesting?
In a classic case of filmmakers prioritizing their own pitch over the actual goods, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost put Schulman's toothy-grinned brother Nev front and center as he investigates his fishy long-distance Facebook crush.
A film in which we spend an hour with these three dopes from Soho should have dispensed with each of them and just focused on this fascinating, lonely, quietly powerful woman from Michigan.
Audience Reviews for Catfish
The social networking zeitgeist is certainly upon us. It has shaped a generation in their reliance on smartphones and the internet and contributed to a new global means of communication. It has brought us closer but sometimes a bit too close. It has opened up new dangers and has shaped us into voyeurs. This documentary is proof enough in showing this. It also shows how easily people can be manipulated.
Filmmakers Rel Schulman and Henry Joost find themselves in the midst of a film project, tracing an online romance between Rel's brother Nev and a female artist on Facebook. Everything doesn't add up though as the women's real identity becomes in question and her stories don't seem to make sense. Is she really who she says she is?...
After a slow beginning, we are soon informed of where this documented drama is heading and the path it takes becomes dark and intriguing. Prime candidate for mockery, Nev Schulman, is a good sport. He very rarely shy's away from what is ultimately a major piss take of his trust in people. But what it also does, is remind ourselves (or those who use social networking sites) that everything is not as it seems when interacting with faceless names. For those who haven't seen it, I won't give too much away, but it shows the frailties in Internet use, as well as, the frailties in ourselves. The revelation of the strange events is quite awakening but is everything we told even true in itself? Some people took this documentary quite literally. I, however, had to wonder whether it was a double cross. I believed it to a point but there were so many chance happenings that were caught conveniently on camera that it couldn't all have been purely documented.
Questions remain as too how authentic the film actually is but as a social commentary it's message still stands. Despite some inconstancies it remains cleverly constructed.
I'm not really sure what to say about this. Such an amazing documentary/film. I had no idea that it was actually real (and I'm still not sure if it even is or not, it all seems too convenient). There is so much that could be said about this film and I'm sure everyone will have a different opinion. It just goes to show that there is some pretty crazy people out there and it's difficult to trust those you meet online. However I don't feel like it answers many of the questions that were brought up about why this woman felt compelled to do what she did and there were many things missed out. Why didn't they show Angela's expression when she first opened the door? That was pretty much the money shot but they missed out. I guess all I can say is watch it and form your own opinion, I don't even know what mine is yet.
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