Yaniv Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Angela Wesselman-Pierce
Nev: I don’t really, necessarily want to be doing this. You’re choosing to do it.
Rel: So stop me.
Nev: That’s what I tried the other day, and you almost fought with me about it.
Rel: So stop right now. Just stop.
Nev: What are you trying to do, like, basic reverse psychology on me like a six year-old?
Rel: Yeah, so what are you giving me, basic laziness?
Documentary following the relationship between a photographer, Nev, in New York and the family of a little girl, Abby, in Michigan who paints amazing versions of Nev’s photos. After months of getting to know the family via the internet and the phone, Nev, and the two filmmakers who share his office, start to uncover the fact that not everything is as it seems as far as the family is concerned.
I’ll start by saying that this is one of those movies that it’s best to go into knowing as little as possible about. I personally think most movies fall into that category, but ones like this especially do. So, if you’d rather not read my spoiler-ish discussion of it, just stop at the end of this paragraph, go watch the movie, then come back and finish reading. While not a masterpiece or anything, I definitely recommend it. It’s pretty powerful stuff, whether it’s the cringe worthy moments or the moments that bring a tear to your eye.
Now, moving on…
Kaycee Nicole Swenson. If that name rings a bell, then the events in this movie may not be too surprising to you. Basically, Kaycee was a teenage girl who, years ago, was battling cancer. She had a blog and many followers. Her posts were humorous, touching, insightful, and inspiring. People around the country, and even in other parts of the world, followed all her ups and downs, all the way up until her tragic death. I was one of those people, and even though I wasn’t as invested in her story nearly as much as some others, it was still an interesting story to follow.
What makes it more interesting is the fact that Kaycee didn’t actually die. In fact, she never actually existed in the first place. She was originally the fabrication of a young girl who wanted to chat with older guys on the internet. When her mother discovered this, she didn’t do the expected (aka sane) thing and discontinue the ruse. Instead, she took it to another level. A way out of control level. She claims it was all done to tell the stories of various cancer sufferers she had known, but I think she was just crazy.
Needless to say, this was a shock to a lot of people. Especially the ones that had had one on one correspondence with Kaycee and had even talked to her on the phone. They were left wondering who the heck they had actually been talking to.
And so, that brings us back to Catfish. While not the story of Kaycee Nicole, I was certainly reminded of that story very early on in this movie, as Nev and his filmmaker friends start to unravel the lies they have been told by this family. Nev has started a long distance relationship with Megan, the older sister of the 8 year old Abby. Megan is a beautiful musician, and she has sent several songs for Nev to listen to. But once they discover one of them isn’t her own song at all, it doesn’t take long to figure out that all of the other songs are just stolen from other artists as well. Not just covers, but completely stolen recordings.
And that’s just the tip of the ice burg.
Nev and his friends decide to pay the family a visit in Michigan, and that’s when things really get weird. And oddly enough, things get pretty touching as well. My skin was crawling at first with how awkward some of the confrontations were, but after a while the situation is revealed to be just so sad that you can’t help but feel at least some sympathy for everyone involved.
The other thing this movie does is make you question everything you’re presented with in the virtual world. In fact, at times I found myself even questioning the verity of the movie itself. I’m almost afraid to do some internet research on it for fear that I’ll find out that it was all faked. Would that fall into some sort of sub category of meta filmmaking? Either way, it would still teach the same lesson that the actual story is teaching: trust no one. I think I’ve heard that somewhere before.
Assuming the events presented are as they actually occurred…well…then there’s some strange people in this world. But as one character points out, those are the people that make life all the more interesting.
Don’t trust anything you read or see on the internet…or hear on the phone. In fact, it’s probably best to just not trust anything at all!
10 – .5 because it’s just so painfully awkward at times (I am rating my enjoyment level of it after all) – 1 because it dragged a little bit here and there and felt a tad repetitive = 8.5