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Catfish
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Reviewed on 2010-09-24
RatedPG-13
Received[3]  out of 4 stars
GenreDocumentary / Thriller
Websitehttp://www.iamrogue.com/catfish
This documentary from filmmakers Ariel “Rel” Schulman and Henry Joost is a reflection of our times where social networking through Facebook, mobile devices and electronic communication so often replace up-close and personal direct human contact. The advertising recommends seeing the movie without being informed in advance about the details. You are welcome to stop reading at this point.

The title refers to the type of person that keeps you guessing and on your toes as opposed to someone dull and boring. The movie thrives on its freshness and unpredictability.

Yaniv “Nev” Schulman is a romantic at heart. Besides being Rel’s younger brother, Nev is a 24-year-old New York-based photographer. Abby, a precocious 8-year-old girl from rural Michigan, contacts Nev on Facebook requesting permission to paint one of his photographs that appeared in the print and online editions of a New York newspaper. He receives the painting in the mail three months later. They become pen pals and Nev sends Abby additional photographs to paint.

Nev’s friendship with Abby extends to other members of her family. He talks by cell phone with Abby’s mother Angela. Things get really interesting when a cyber-romance develops with Abby’s attractive older half-sister Megan Faccio. Megan’s Facebook profile indicates she is a model, musician and dancer. She writes and records a song for Nev. He believes they would have an instantaneous relationship if they met in person.

Nev is so attractive, photogenic and likable that you become invested in the events that follow. Nev lets down all his defenses and goes with the flow of the good vibrations coming from Megan. Your voyeuristic curiosity reaches its peak when Nev and the two filmmakers embark on a road trip to Michigan. Nev wants to surprise Megan, Abby and the rest of the family.

This absorbing movie grabs you from the outset and holds your attention throughout the 86-minute running time. The movie is briskly paced and never drags.

Nev grows from this experience and becomes a more savvy and understanding person. This documentary exposes our over-reliance on electronic devices to give us a lift or buzz. It provides a good lesson to be wary of online interaction. The movie has a homemade quality similar to reality television. It was well-received when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival.

The “wow” factor of this movie evokes strong reactions and should get people talking. It is opening exclusively at AMC Town Center 20.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"

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