“What’s going on over there? Whats in the box?”

Theatrical Release Date: 09/24/2010
Directors: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Rated: PG-13 for some sexual references.
Runtime: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Golden Mug2010 Golden Mug

Best Documentary


Hi. Ian Forbes wants to be friends with you on Facebook. Respond now.

Millions of Facebook users know that phrase (well, maybe not with my name in the sentence but you get the point). Everyday, people are adding to their friends list, either to keep in touch with someone they genuinely know or miss, or to increase the number of people who they can reach out to, whether it’s for ego, business, or both.

While many of us have debated adding certain people we once knew, it’s another question entirely when it’s a complete stranger. Well, that’s the issue at hand in “Catfish”. Directors Henry Joost & Ariel Shulman filmed Ariel’s brother Nev throughout his experience of befriending someone online.

The film twists and turns itself as we gather more and more information, leading somewhere one might or might not expect. Vague? Well, that’s the point. The beautiful thing about seeing this was that I knew absolutely no more about the film than anyone who’s just read all my ramblings above.

I STRONGLY recommend NOT watching the trailer or asking others who have seen it to reveal anything to you. All you should know is that if you use social networking sites, this is practically a must see. It’s well made, and even though the filmmakers have intentionally made things ambiguous, the issues brought up are items that anyone with an online presence should consider.

All of us on the information superhighway have become accustomed to how things operate but perhaps don’t spend enough time being critical about our decisions to reveal certain things or act in a certain manner all because it’s a virtual exercise. There’s no actual person sitting in front of you at the table while you blab about that night in Vegas. And really, how many items that you’ve posted online in the last week probably wouldn’t have been said face to face?

When figuring out how to rate “Catfish”, I decided that I almost have to give it a 5 out of 5 because I would recommend that everyone who uses Facebook / MySpace / Friendster / whatever, find a way to see this. There’s nothing that makes the movie theater experience drastically better but I hope you keep others from giving out spoilers because without that mystery, I could give you the moral of the story in one sentence and it’s a fascinating journey the way it’s laid out.

I’m not saying it’s the best thing since sliced bread but even if you end up not liking any of the people in it, have issues with how they acted, or simply don’t care one way or the other about them, it should force you to refresh your personal social networking guidelines; and if a film has the chance to actually affect your life, it’s worth a look.

5 out of 5