October 4, 2010

Review: Dating and Documenting 'Catfish'

The horribly titled and worse marketed social media documentary, Catfish, is probably the ultimate Facebook movie some expected The Social Network to be. As a documentary, although its aunthenticity has been questioned, it explores the online genesis of a social media based romantic relationship from its beginnings to an unexpected resolution. The doc goes on to reveal so much more about the humanity, or lack thereof, behind the walls we build around online relationships.

Catfish explores the many facets, reasons, and motivations behind connecting online. The film's subject New York photographer, Yaniv Schulman, meets and interactions with a Michigan family and a special girl entirely online, developing a unique bond with them. When he explores that fascination, we are let in on revealing elements of the human condition. To discuss the turn in the story and its unfolding plot would ruin the entire viewing experience as it hinges on the slowly unfolding plot.

A word of warning: if the subject interests you, go watch the film. Do not watch the trailer, it gives you an entirely false sense of the story. This is no Hitchcock like thriller with a horror twist or scare. It is human drama at its most engrossing, documenting real emotions, feelings, and fake relationships. The first half is a really funny, charming story and the last half is a revealing look into our lives as an emotional journey of discovery.

Catfish is almost too perfect in its composure. The subjects are charming and interesting. One in particular is so compelling, it has to be real in its artificiality, if that makes any sense. It is a documentary that begs for conversation afterward. Catfish is a fascinating exploration of the artificialities of digital life and living online and perfect companion piece to David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin's The Social Network.

More | ABC News

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