Catfish is a curious documentary about a long-distance online relationship that takes a couple of bizarre turns before the big reveal -- which was telegraphed from the first frame but was for me surprising all the same. And that's the puzzlement. Why was the second half of this film so riveting and haunting?

Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost filmed Schulman's brother Yaniv's eight-month courtship of the mysterious Megan and follow him to her home in Michigan after Yaniv (Nev) begins to suspect she's not who she claims and wants to see for himself. Well, of course she's not but it's who she really is
that's the core of this unsettling movie.

Those of us who spend a lot of time on Facebook might feel a special sympathy for the battered souls drifting about in cyberspace who occasionally bump into each other -- for better and for worse -- and hope we are not counted
among those poor saps who find comfort in the virtual. Others might find it tempting to wag their fingers and cluck their tongues disapprovingly at the folks at the center of this drama: "See? That's what you get!" To do so would be to miss the point altogether, I think.

Some have questioned whether this documentary was staged, at least in part. Perhaps. But to me that's not reason enough to dismiss the picture's message(s) about authenticity, connectedness and the undeniable human need to be and feel loved.


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