Catfish is one of those predictable movies that somehow still manage to surprise. It’s somewhat of a documentary about Facebook and its capacity to give its users the power to create a perfect world for themselves. But it’s also a mystery about trust, betrayal, and sadness. It takes place around 2007 where Yaniv, a twentysomething photographer in New York, receives in the mail a painting of one of his photos. It was done by an eight year-old art prodigy named Abby.
From that point on, Nev begins sort of a relationship with the rest of her family, and brother Ariel Schulman and friend Henry Joost (both up-and-coming filmmakers, and directors of this one) decide to document the whole thing. Nev’s fascination with the family goes deeper. He has long phone conversations with mom Angela and becomes smitten with Abby’s hot older half-sister Megan. He dubs them “The Facebook family,” since much of what he learns about them comes from the social networking site. Quite taken with all of them, it becomes something of a shock when it turns out Megan, a musician, is plagiarizing other peoples songs and Abby doesn’t really have a gallery at all. Hungry for answers, as are we the audience, the three guys head off to Michigan to meet the family and separate the truth from the fiction.
With the vision of some kind of Texas Chainsaw Massacre family dancing around in my head, I couldn’t wait to see how the “too good to be true” bubble would burst and those early scenes do have that creepy-with-anticipation vibe to them. But Catfish is just as much about humanity as it is suspense and the interactions, intentions, psychology and secrets of its subjects prove well worth the analysis.