Catfish is a movie unlike any you have seen before. This real-life documentary started when three roommates, a photographer and two film-makers, begin an odd relationship with a girl over Facebook. A simple conversation, a few phone calls, some texting and of course lots of Facebook chats turn into a nine month relationship between a 19 year old girl and a new photographer. Simple interests like dance, music and painting pushed the two together to form a relationship unlike either of them had ever had before. Usually documentaries are unprofessional and poorly put together, but this one really captures the romance, suspense and pain while still putting a clear message across to the audience.
Nev, a photographer, lives with his friend Henry and his brother Ariel, two film-makers. A big break starts off the movie when Nev gets one of his photographs published in a front page exclusive. A few weeks later he receives a package in the mail. When they open it, inside is a painting of the photo that was published and a letter to Nev. The letter is written by an eight year old girl named Abby who was inspired by his photograph and painted it for him. By this time, Nev’s two roommates become fascinated with this out of the ordinary friendship and begin to document their encounters with Abby. Nev believes that his roommates are wasting their time with making a documentary on some random eight year old girl who loves to paint and himself but agrees to go along with it. Nev writes her back and letters begin going back and forth between him and the small town in Michigan where Abby lives. Nev begins sending Abby some photographs of his and she begins to paint them and send them back to him. Then letters become phone calls with Abby’s mom, Angela, and soon Nev is friends with all of Abby’s family on Facebook.
Nev and Abby keep in touch and soon Nev becomes friends with Abby’s 19 year old sister named Megan who thanks Nev for being so kind to her baby sister. Megan is a very beautiful girl and a romance quickly picks up between Nev and her. After a few months ofan ongoing relationship with Megan, Nev starts to put together some things that just don’t add up with this normal, small-town family from Michigan. Nev, Ariel and Henry decide to investigate what is true about this friendly family and embark on a road trip that leads them to a sudden and secret life that no one could have guessed.
What really drew me into the movie was the fact that it wasn’t fictional. I also really liked the camera shots. Although Catfish seemed very professional and very well put together, I also got the feeling that this was all happening for real and not scripted. In professional films, the camera work is very exact and careful. One shot that sticks out in my head is when they leave for the road trip and they are documenting their conversation on the ride down. There must have been one camera on the dashboard looking forward to Nev, who was driving, and then both Ariel, sitting in the back seat, and Henry, sitting in the passenger seat, had cameras. The camera shots would change during the film and sometimes in the dashboard camera you could see Ariel in the back seat with his camera also shooting Nev while he talked. That showed me that although this is a movie, it also is real. There were no redos and they had to capture everything the second it happened just like how real life would be.
I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone. I think I would recommend it to tweens and teenagers especially because Facebook is new and exciting at that time in our life and it seems like the most fun thing to do. But sometimes we are so into it that we don’t realize how dangerous it can really be. As I had said before, this film is fantastic because it truly is real and not just a work of fiction. I also really liked it because it had all the elements of great movie-making in it: romance, suspense and adventure. Catfish, in my mind, deserves four stars!