directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost
Is this thing real? Are the Schulman bros and Henry Joost monsters? WTF does the title mean? I won’t spoil anything for you (except that the title is explained in the film), but I would urge you to scope out this entertaining and somewhat inspired “doc” about a NYC photographer named Nev Schulman, who befriends an 8 year old girl named Abbey on Facebook after she sends him a painting she made of one of his photos. The plot thickens when Nev begins an online relationship with Abbey’s cute older sister, Megan, all the while being filmed by his brother, Ariel. I am so torn between my desire to discuss this film and to withhold so as to not spoil anything for you, good film lover. Perhaps telling that it conveniently opened around the same time as David Fincher’s generation-defining film, The Social Network, I had my own host of speculations about this film before I even sat down in the auditorium, but I did go in blind about the plot (other than what the trailer gave away), and I would highly recommend you do the same. Afterward, we can talk. The Schulmans and Joost spin a quietly mesmerizing tale that leaves you with something to think about. And it’s very possible that Nev, Rel and Henry are the catfish of their own story.
A fleeting thought: Catfish are bottom feeders, like carp, sucking up food from the scum. This is due to their anatomy, which makes them negatively buoyant, but fisherman (aka those in the know) will tell you that catfish meat is some of the cleanest and tastiest around. The point? I don’t know, but simply put: a catfish is a bottom feeder, not by choice but by design, and their insides are surprisingly pure. Why don’t you meditate on that little riddle, and while you’re at it, go see this effing film.
One more fleeting thought: Joaquin Phoenix should be suing Nev Schulman’s chest for likeness rights.