The use of social networks has increased greatly over the past few years. There are over 600 million Facebook users worldwide and it is growing each day. People use it to connect with others and share pictures, form friendships, and even to develop romantic relationships. It is accessible nearly everywhere. A documentary was recently made about how a 24-year-old Facebook user in New York named Yaniv, connected with another Facebook user, an 8-year-old girl from a small town thousands of miles away in Michigan named Abby. They exchanged messages over a 9-month period and formed a friendship which broadened to Abby’s family. This film is full of exciting twists and turns but began to unravel once Yaniv takes a trip to Ishpeming, Michigan for a surprise visit.
At the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, the documentary Catfish made its premiere. It was directed by two young men, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who is the brother of Yaniv, or Nev, Schulman- the star of the film. Rogue Pictures acquired the film after a bidding war with Paramount Pictures and released it on DVD and Blu-ray at the beginning of this year. Some people speculate whether or not the documentary is 100% true. The makers of the film stand by their statements that the events were purely coincidence and luck. They say that that is exactly how the story happened. Catfish is a documentary about how you can form friendships with people but you cannot always believe what they are putting on their profile. The internet is an easy place to disguise yourself and deceive others.
Catfish is filled with many events that keep you guessing and wondering what the truth really is. Each character adds a unique and exciting element to the film. Nev Schulman is a photographer from New York. The documentary is made about his life and how he has formed relationships with a family through Facebook. It all began when he received a painting of one of his pictures in the mail. It was said to be done by a girl named Abby. Abby told Nev about herself through Facebook messages and he learned that she loved to do art and ride horses. He continued to send her pictures he was taking, and she would send back amazing paintings. Nev also formed a relationship with Abby’s mother, Angela. Nev really liked Angela and felt that she was a very normal woman and a good mom. Nev also got involved with Abby’s older sister named Megan. Megan was a beautiful 19-year-old girl with a soft, mature voice and Nev loved everything about her. They messaged each other on the computer, sent text messages back and forth, and even talked on the phone. Megan loved to sing, dance, and also do art. She lived on a farm and had a barn for her horses. Nev had fallen in love with this girl and he had yet to even see her in person. He felt that a trip to Michigan was the only way he could truly see where things would go.
The idea and the way this movie was filmed is very interesting. The three guys who decided to make this could not have possibly known there were going to be so many twists when they first began the documentary. They did a great job of catching many different angles throughout the entire film. They seemed to always have two cameras handy that filmed from different perspectives. In the car especially, they had one camera that was on the dashboard showing all of the passengers and another was in the hand of the guy in the backseat. That camera was on Nev and they would cut to that when he was talking to really focus on only his emotions. The way they used the cameras and organized the documentary was entertaining.
Catfish is a documentary that I would definitely recommend. I probably would not have heard of it if it weren’t for this class, so I am thankful we got the opportunity to watch it. I think people in high school and older would really enjoy this film, especially those who use Facebook frequently. It is captivating but also teaches a lesson at the same time. Younger Facebook users can learn the dangers of the internet and how they should make their profiles private. You never know what kind of people might view your profile. The movie was great because it really shows how Facebook and other social networks will grow in the future and be used for more and more everyday things. I also like the way it was constantly keeping my attention and the ending was nothing that I had imagined. I give Catfish two thumbs up!