Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Catfish ***½

Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Boy meets underage girl, underage girl has a sister, boy falls for sister, boy loses girl, girl has bizarre secret (all of it happens through Facebook). That pretty much sums up the plot of Catfish; a creepy documentary that explores love in the times of social networks and the strange line that divides truth and fiction.
The film centers on the love life of Nev Schulman, a New York based video artist, who meets a fan of his work through the internet. Said fan is Abby, a little girl who also happens to be a child prodigy, making art that sells for thousands in her native town of Ishpeming, Michigan.
Abby begins sharing her work with Nev and soon he's friends with her entire family, including her mother Angela and oldest sister Megan.
Because Abby is too young to be in touch with a grownup, her mother and sister take over her conversations with Nev. Soon the young man discovers that Megan is a talented songwriter. They begin flirting, then sexting and before soon they're calling each other "babe". Then something happens and Nev (along with filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost) decides to go to the core of the situation.
The young filmmakers do a superb job of editing their footage in such a way, that the story becomes a Hitchcockian psycho-sexual mystery (minus the preposterousness of those Shia LaBeouf movies which attempted to evoke the master).
In Catfish what we get instead is a disturbing, often heartbreaking, examination of how people strive to find connections in a world that makes them believe distance is only an illusion.
More than the eventual plot twist which unchains a series of shaking revelations, we wonder why is Nev so willing to believe in love from afar?
It's "easier" to understand Megan's plea; living in a distant town she might not have had the opportunity to bond with people who light that spark in her, yet Nev, an artist living in New York City finds himself in the same predicament.
This isn't a cautionary tale about the perils of social networks, this is a tale about taking risks to find love and as such it transcends the barriers of technology.

3 comments:

Dan said...

I've read so many reviews of this film, yet still haven't worked out exactly what happens in the end. Which is annoying.

Guess I'm going to have to go and see it damnit.

Jose said...

Haha you should!
Spoiling the twist would really just spoil the fun!

CS said...

I really need to see this film. Even my cousin (who is not a big movie buff) was talking about this film. It just seems like I film I cannot ignore for much longer.