The 2010 documentary film ‘Catfish’ is responsible for coining the term catfishing, a word used when someone creates a social media presence posing as someone else under a fake name and identity with an ulterior motive as a motivation.
Netflix’s 2021 rom-com ‘Love Hard’ starring Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, and Darren Barnet is a perfect most recent example of catfishing.
‘Catfish,’ directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, stars the two helmers plus Ariel’s brother Yulnev simply known as Nev.
The movie involves Nev, his brother and his friend as they document him while building a romantic relationship with a young woman on the social media platform Facebook.
The film was such a critical and commercial success grossing over $3million on a $30,000 budget. It even resulted in a reality television series of the same name that premiered in 2012.
Budding photographer Nev Schulman resides in New York City with his brother Ariel.
Abby Pierce, an eight-year-old excellent artist, living in rural Michigan, sends Nev a painting of one of his photos.
They become friends on Facebook, which interestingly pulls in the rest of the family, including her parents, Angela and Vince, as well as her older sister Megan.
Nev starts an online relationship with Megan, who sends him covers of songs she does for him.
But Nev somehow discovers that these mp3’s are not Megan’s work but rather other people’s covers taken from YouTube.
Nev is ready to call it quits, but his brother and his friend Ariel and Joost urge him to continue the relationship to see what else this stranger is hiding or lying about. While on their way from a gig, they decide to pay an impromptu visit to Megan and her family in Michigan.
They do receive a warm welcome, but while there, they learn that there is no one named Megan, and Angela entirely did the online correspondence by using images of a model named Aime Gonzalez, who lives in Washington DC.
This documentary is a lesson about the consequences of people living their emotional lives on social media. It also informs the masses that not everything or anyone posing online is who they claim to be. Hence people must exercise great caution on the internet.
Of course, some transgressions were made to give the documentary a cinematic feel as there are staged scenes which the filmmakers admitted to later on. However, the editing was very well done, giving the film an excellently crafted linear plot with a beginning, middle, and end.
‘Catfish’ is more of a sentimental drama rather than a recounting of actual events that happened. Its climax is captivating, and the progression is compelling, making the film enjoyable.
Though some critics felt like nothing in this film happened by chance and every single scene was carefully calculated and planned, it still makes a good movie that’s interesting nevertheless.
It might not be the best in its genre released around the same time; talk of ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop,’ but it still is a decent mockumentary and film.