Yesterday I watched the movie Catfish, a true documentary of a guy named Nev Schulman and his online adventure. Nev is a 24 year old New York City photographer who receives an email asking permission to paint of one of his photos, from an 8 year old girl, named Abby. At first Nev’s brother videotapes the internet exchange of messages because of the interesting story of an 8 year old painter who is fascinated with his brother’s photograph. In the process of this developing friendship, Nev is friended on Facebook by several of Abby’s family members and their friends, including her 19 year old sister, Megan and her mother, Angela. Nev and Megan even develop a “romantic” long distance relationship online. Now, I have to stop before I give anyway any plot twists and turns. But there are many surprises to be revealed throughout this 90 minute movie which covers the 9 month internet exchanges and phone calls between Nev and Abby’s family.
Everyone who interacts with people online should consider watching this movie. The documentary is shot in an amateurish way because it was never intended to be a movie, but to record of this interesting relationship between Nev and Abby. However, once Nev and his brother discover there is a lot more to the story, they decide to pursue to it’s end, wherever that might lead them.
This movie is a perfect example of how we engage with people online, develop friendships, but really do not know who we are talking to. I can relate to some things in the movie based on my own personal experiences online. People are not always who they appear to be, they have issues, personality disorders, and it takes a while to discover all that. Of course this movie is an extreme example of what could happen, but as long as you are online talking to strangers, you are going to have a story to tell at some point.
Overall, 90 minutes is not a lot of time to invest to get a little education, if you are in the habit of making friends online. “There are people who are like catfish, who keep you on your toes.” So does this movie!