71 of 82 people found the following review helpful
Not A Shocking Thriller----"Catfish" Suffers From An Overzealous and Expectation Setting Ad Campaign,
This review is from: Catfish (DVD)As many others, I distinctly recall the marketing campaign for "Catfish" that spoke of this quasi-documentary in thriller-like terminology. I was actually surprised by how wide this movie dropped in its initial theatrical release--most current documentaries don't get a full scale media blitz but instead are relegated to the art house circuit. In many ways, I can already see the negative backlash that this approach has caused by setting up expectations that the actual film had little intentions of fulfilling. It's disappointing, really, in reaching for a broader appeal--perhaps "Catfish" was a bit oversold for mass consumption. "Catfish" is actually a very compelling and entertaining character driven piece and I think that the people who approach it with no pre-conceived notions might find this film has a lot to offer about our media obsession. Where David Fincher's "The Social Network" was the great fictional Facebook movie of 2010, I think "Catfish" stands as an interesting counterpoint in the non-fiction category.
In truth, the less you know about "Catfish"--the better. And perhaps that is the reason behind the mysterious trailer that may have been a tad misleading. The story is extremely contemporary. Anyone who has experienced online networking and dating know the inherent perils in believing everything you read. It's simply not prudent. "Catfish" documents a relationship between a successful New York photographer and 8 year old Abby, an artist in Michigan. Abby sends him a painting of one of his published photos and the two strike up an electronic friendship. His brother and friend start to document this blossoming camaraderie and this forms the initial basis for "Catfish." Soon, he becomes acquainted with Abby's entire family and even starts a long distance courtship with her older sister Megan. But as things become more intimate, everything might not be entirely copasetic. The film culminates with the boys traveling to Michigan to meet the family that he has been corresponding with for over eight months.
Let me just say this--nothing that they discover is particularly surprising. Modern audiences are certainly astute enough to sort out the central mysteries. What is surprising, however, is the intricacies involved in these mysteries. The film begins as a lark--funny and romantic. It evolves into a darker picture altogether until the end is infused with a sadness and melancholy which was quite unexpected. I, of course, can only speak for myself. I don't think "Catfish" is for everyone and I understand the frustration of viewers who felt the advertising was a bit of a bait and switch. But, in truth, I absolutely loved this movie. Seriously.
There is also an ongoing debate about the veracity of the film--how much was staged and how much unfolded naturally. I will admit that the casual filming style and equipment wouldn't always have lent itself to the full picture and all access pass that the film provides. But there is a real underlying integrity to what is being revealed. "Catfish" struck me as an honest examination about the truths that we need to tell ourselves to get by. I was thoroughly entertained throughout. "Catfish" made me laugh, made me uncomfortable, and made me sad. And just when I made my peace with the characters of "Catfish," the end credit epilogue slapped me back to reality one more time. I am certainly surprised by the depth of passion I have in defending this film from its nay-sayers, but it is a film that will linger in my mind for quite some time. KGHarris, 1/11.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 26, 2011 7:19:45 AM PST
Mickey O'Neil says:
Each paragraph you wrote represents exactly the same way I felt through the experience of watching this film. " "Catfish" made me laugh, made me uncomfortable, and made me sad. And just when I made my peace with the characters of "Catfish," the end credit epilogue slapped me back to reality one more time. " EXACTLY.
It is the first review I ever read from a real person that seems to completely nail it. Congratulations, and thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2011 11:16:01 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 4:17:06 PM PDT]
Posted on Feb 24, 2011 6:34:35 PM PST
S. Curry says:
Perfect review of this film. Thank you.
Posted on Jun 15, 2011 7:52:43 PM PDT
Scott B. Saul says:
Posted on Jul 17, 2011 11:31:42 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 13, 2011 5:58:40 AM PDT]
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