Posted on 11/19/11 11:35 PM
I made a miscalculation with "Catfish". Seeing the trailer, I made the assumption this would be yet another cliched attempt at social commentary on the Internet age, maybe something that would use a sledgehammer to drive home the point that the Internet is dangerous, yadda, yadda, yadda....
But I was wrong, and should be chastised accordingly. Whether or not what we see on screen is always "as is", it's a good movie. It's consistent and objective with its subject matter, as well as its "characters" (if that's what they actually are).
The story follows a young man named Nev, with his brother Ariel and friend Henry who video-document his long-distance relationship with a woman on Facebook named Megan, as well as her family, which includes an unusually talented eight-year-old painter and their mother Angela. They decide to set out on a road trip to visit these people in a rural part of Michigan after they realize Megan has lied to Nev about songs she supposedly wrote for him, but were in fact stolen from YouTube videos.
Anyone familiar with the e-slang "Catfish" can probably put the rest together in their heads--even if you don't, you can probably figure it out from the plot synopsis--but still, that doesn't really take away from the movie's achievement. In the end, it's a study of a person who may or may not emotionally disturbed, but it doesn't condone or condemn them. It doesn't try to shove an after-school-special "moral" about the world of social networking down our throats. Whether or not the presentation is truthful, it's still honest. There's no pandering, nor any prejudice. In other words, it presents something like a proper documentary should.