Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 Ratings

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  • Summary: In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel's brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue. (Rogue Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 29
  2. Negative: 2 out of 29
  1. Nev and the filmmakers prove to be charismatic, and at times hilarious, investigators of the unfolding mystery.
  2. 83
    Catfish is absolutely riveting, and even nerve-wracking as Joost and the Schulmans get progressively closer to learning more about their "friends."
  3. Catfish is fascinating. At the same time, it emits a condescending, pitying odor.
  4. 70
    There are some creepy chuckles to be had from this allegedly true account of a hip, young New York photographer.
  5. Catfish was built to charm, not indict, and on that front it makes for a diverting seriocomic wade into the pitfalls of Internet-based immediacy, and by extension, the manipulative mysteries of documentary assemblage.
  6. 63
    One problem is that none of the characters are interesting and the situation is clich├ęd.
  7. I'll respect the studio's wishes to abbreviate all plot description. God knows, they're marketing it like the second coming of "The Crying Game," though the revelations that await Nev are only shocking if you believe P.T. Barnum was really in possession of a genuine Fiji mermaid.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 34
  2. Negative: 5 out of 34
  1. Oct 3, 2010
    I could not disagree more with the critics who described this film as "condescending" and "sleazy." I found it riveting, suspenseful (not a thriller, as others have mentioned, but suspenseful nonetheless), heartbreaking, and compassionate. Contrary to A. O. Scott of the New York Times' opinion, I thought it WAS "a brilliant exploration of the hidden corners of contemporary reality." See it before anyone wrecks it for you, and see it knowing as little about it as possible. Expand
  2. Sep 27, 2010
    OK, so they ads/trailers are tricks to get you into the theater. This is definitely not a thriller. But if you can get over the fact that they pulled a fast one on you, what you'll find is a great story & acting, and very well developed & interesting characters. Definitely one to see. Expand
  3. Mar 1, 2013
    Catfish is a guilty pleasure and although its authenticity is doubted, it all seems very genuine and solid. It's a documentary for the new generation; it's fast, it's full of action and it plays out perfectly. Don't believe everything you see on TV, though. Expand
  4. Jan 7, 2011
    A captivating piece of film. Quite controversial subject matters. At times the film is a bit flaky but so are all films if you go deep enough. The main point of the film I think is to show the public that this stuff does happen. I feel the outcome of the film a bit lenient from the truth. Saying that it's good fun talking about whether the film is fact or fiction with friends. Definitely needs to be watched. Expand
  5. May 28, 2011
    Felt a little contrived for the first half, but the payoff is a fascinating psychological study. Even though I could see the ending from a mile away, I'm surprised that I had a different emotional reaction than I had anticipated, and I think most fellow skeptics would concur. Expand
  6. Jan 8, 2011
    Some may tell you that Catfish is a thriller. Or a mystery. Or many other things, all of which it is not. I'm only mildly convinced of the filmmakers' claim that the documentary included no staging whatsoever. But putting all that aside and taking it for what it is, there is value to be found, especially for any social media addict who has considered taking an online relationship further and meeting a stranger who they've engaged with solely via non-physical means.

    The idea in Catfish is simple - people are not always who they say they are. The filmmakers follow their friend/brother as a relationship grows between he and a woman online (the majority taking place on Facebook). Eventually, lies are discovered and the group sets out to set the record straight by making a surprise appearance at the fibber's home. This is where the so-called "mystery" supposedly kicks in, but I can assure you that if you're the least bit "thrilled" by this film you need to immediately stop watching it and do something crazy. The mystery quickly fizzles and the film settles into a story about forgiveness and understanding.

    I suppose that Catfish could be touching for some. I am not included in that group, though. I found it to be a bit pretentious and mildly entertaining. I do believe the story occurred, but I also feel that the filmmakers without a doubt affected the outcome of the story, and in some ways even took advantage of those they intended to expose. Am I upset that I spent an hour and a half watching it? No. Would I ever watch it again? Doubtful.
  7. Dec 22, 2010
    Why is this so heavily promoted by film critics? A documentary that never quite feels genuine, is mildly interesting and does not have a surprise ending or twist as avidly advertised, was a total waste of my time. Expand

See all 34 User Reviews