Reviewing films with interesting revelations at their heart is always tough. You want to give the audience just enough information that they will be inspired to go and see the movie, but not enough that it will ‘spoil’ their experience.
Catfish is a documentary with interesting revelations. Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost are documentary filmmakers who live with Ariel’s brother, Nev. They find out about Nev’s relationship with a family that started over facebook. Intrigued, they believe it to be interesting enough to make a film about.
Going into more detail than this would kind of ruin the journey the movie takes you on. However, what I can say is that this is the first film which really deals with the impact of social networking on our daily lives.
During the birth of the internet in the 90s, there was a lot of fear over its anonymity. The fact people could pose in chat rooms as whoever they wanted to be, with no way of verifying these claims.
As the internet has ‘grown up’ social networking has allowed people to interact with their real life friends, safe in the knowledge that the person they are communicating with is someone they’ve actually met in real life.
Of course the problem this creates, is that the version of ourselves we post online may not be the most accurate. The books, films, and bands we say we like may merely be there to buy us credibility with our friends. Our status updates make bold claims or hilarious insights in the vain hope as many of our ‘friends’ as possible will ‘like’ them.
It also allows us to paint inaccurate pictures of people we barely know. In a similar way to celebrity magazines, facebook profiles allow us to extrapolate personalities traits from the tiniest pieces of information.
Catfish represents all of these things, with a narrative that’s strong enough to hold together a fictional film. The way it plays out will inevitably lead you to question the credibility of what you are seeing. However, with no evidence to suggest it has been faked, we must assume this is merely down to good filmmaking.
For a certain generation facebook has completely changed the way we interact with people. Catfish is the first film to truly reflect this. Go see it now, before someone spoils it for you.