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Nev Schulman


Okay, so I finally saw “Catfish,” the documentary indie about a guy who meets a girl on Facebook and chronicles the entire affair, including his impromptu visit to her home in Michigan.

Fair warning: there’s no structure to this review. I’m just going to jot down some thoughts I had about it.

It’s a modern film in the sense that it is entirely based on a people hooking up via the internet (Facebook in particular) and how this digital era of communication has created new and interesting ways for people to pull the wool over each other’s eyes. Despite my reservations about the film, which I detail below, somehow it felt very necessary. I think there a lot more “Catfish” stories out there than we’d care to admit, albeit with varying degrees of subterfuge, not as drastic as what was uncovered in this movie.

With that said, what bothered me about this film is the same thing that bothers me about the National Inquirer and all those media outlets that profit from other’s misfortune. On some level, this movie just smacked of a couple smart, big city hipster types exploiting the misery of this Midwestern woman who was going through a mid-life crisis and had her fair share of problems. I’m sure that they would argue that she gave her consent and that since the movie’s release, she’s sold tons of artwork and the whole experience gave her life meaning. That may be true, but I still can’t help but feel that these guys are just so smugly happy with themselves and that she is the butt of an elaborate joke. What’s scarier: that you can create fictional personas and carry on a fairly sophisticated deceit with someone thousands of miles away, or that they can document the whole thing on film and out you to the world and come out established movie makers while your life remains relatively unchanged?

In a sense, there are two cautionary tales here: one is about the vagaries of the net, the other is about this new world of electronic media where you can be filmed without your knowledge or consent and your home and surroundings can be surveyed by someone in another state with the click of a button.

Oh and P.S., since this is Indosplace where I mainly deal with curvy women and that subculture, check out the thick African American waitress they meet once they arrive in Michigan. She’s a cutie.

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