Catfish

User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 86
  2. Negative: 9 out of 86

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User Reviews

  1. Jan 8, 2011
    5
    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 furtherSome 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.
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  2. Jul 19, 2011
    4
    I respect the filmmakers for trying. However, from the start it's quite obvious something isn't right. The big twist won't surprise most. The twist does make the movie feel a bit like a P.S.A. saying that the people you meet online might not be who you think they are. I was entertained by it for a while. I began to grow bored when it went to Michigan. The movie goes from interesting sharpI respect the filmmakers for trying. However, from the start it's quite obvious something isn't right. The big twist won't surprise most. The twist does make the movie feel a bit like a P.S.A. saying that the people you meet online might not be who you think they are. I was entertained by it for a while. I began to grow bored when it went to Michigan. The movie goes from interesting sharp thriller to sappy cheese. It's not boring, but it is slightly predictable, though the depth of the predictably will catch you off guard. The trailers totally misrepresent the film. Expand
  3. Jan 15, 2011
    4
    Rather dull home video with hugely deceptive trailers. The movie's big surprise is unveiled so slowly it never manages to be all that surprising, and in the end isn't particularly interesting. Granted, there are some heartfelt, real-life emotions on display, but it's not enough to carry the movie.
  4. Jan 12, 2011
    5
    I'd say overall, not so good. It did turn out to be somewhat of a surprise, but not really in a good way. I'll save a better critique for a better film.
  5. Sep 21, 2010
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. As I walked out the theater, I overheard someone utter, â Expand
  6. Oct 8, 2010
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Passing off "Hey You", an important track from the mega-selling album "Pink Floyd: The Wall" as your own original composition may seem like a foolhardy gambit now, but back in 1986, the time-frame of Noah Baumbach's "The Squid and the Whale", it was, indeed, still plausible for an audience to watch somebody make a mockery of a talent show without the slightest clue to the blatant plagiarizing going on. That's because songs could die. No YouTube. No CD reissues. A song could be buried after its initial life cycle. Still yet, this is Pink Floyd we're talking about, so Walt Berkman(Jesse Eisenberg) should have chosen a deeper cut("Nobody Home", perhaps), but due to the pressure he was under, the almost sociopathic need to impress his pompous intellectual of a father(played by Jeff Daniels), the would-be folk troubadour had to swing for the fences and enhance the risk of getting caught red-handed. Now that the world has been forever altered because of the Internet's advent and the deluge of information which followed, the erudite novelist's son, had he been been born to this generation, would face the dilemma of endless art, and be left with little choice but to go through the circuitous route of stealing from amateurs. Still yet, the intellectual property of the unsigned is accredited, just like the Roger Waters-penned "Hey You", by simply performing a Google search, so Walt would be caught out, even though he'd be plundering the less-luminous catalogues of DIY artists, as Angela was, in "Catfish", when the filmmaker's subject discovers that his on-line friend(a purported singer/songwriter who sends him her musical stylings via Facebook) not only took the writing credit, but the actual songs in whole. It's the first of many lies concocted by the rural Michigan woman, and as they pile up, "Catfish" looks headed for a violent ending, just like any other horror film shot on digital video of recent vintage. "Catfish" has all the makings of a modern-day update of Alfred Hitchc*ck's "Psycho", once the subject and his crew learns the truth about "Megan", when they meet her intermediary, Megan, who in all likelihood, had seen Amir Bar-Lev's "My Kid Could Paint That"(or did the filmmakers see it), the REAL documentary about the child artist Maria Olmstead, since she too is the parent of a young painting child prodigy, Abby. Whereas Rosebud was a sled, maybe "Catfish" would turn out to be the name of the murderess' weapon. A paintbrush with a sharp handle, perhaps? But no, in the granddaddy of all twists, "Catfish" goes for an anti-Shyamalan aesthetic and categorically circumvents the usual horror tropes, and aims for something a little more mature than a by-the-numbers killing spree; it aims for the human horror of an unfinished life. In place of an insatiable bloodlust, Angela has a lust for life, not premeditated murder. Or does she? Since "Catfish" takes on the form, but not the content of a horror movie, maybe, just maybe, for a woman such as Angela, Facebook neutralizes an all-consuming drive to lash out at the real world, a world she perceives as a living hell, in which the social network functions as a preventive measure against this depressed wife and mother from murdering her husband and kids(two of whom are retarded and not her biological sons). All those invented people she impersonates in the chat room would be scary within a filmic context that was predisposed toward the genre film. She seems relatively normal, since her fantasy life is dislocated from the corporeal world, but such "friends", the ciphers on Angela's Facebook page, are still unmistakably symptomatic of the woman possessing multiple personalities, a 21st century Sybil. On the web, she gets to have a life(an exciting life like Megan's), but in Ishpeming, Michigan, "Megan" may look around the house, and her drab surroundings, and want to start anew, like some femme version of the character that Terry O'Quinn played in Joseph Ruben's "The Stepfather". Although "Catfish" is, essentially, one big MacGuffin, don't overlook the potential for violence that is stemmed by the film's on-line/off-line binary. Expand
  7. Oct 25, 2010
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Though touching and honest, "Catfish" reaffirms the clichéd axiom, 'you should not judge the book by its cover'. So it goes: you should not judge Catfish by its trailer. You may be frustrated. Expand
  8. Jan 31, 2011
    6
    The story was incredibly engaging and mysterious. At first. While it was very good and exiting, even suspenseful at times, the mystery was solved earlier than anticipated and as a result i found the last 30 minutes or so lackluster, boring and as a result i wasn't very compelled to finish it. After sitting through that last bit I wasn't really glad I stuck around and the end sort of madeThe story was incredibly engaging and mysterious. At first. While it was very good and exiting, even suspenseful at times, the mystery was solved earlier than anticipated and as a result i found the last 30 minutes or so lackluster, boring and as a result i wasn't very compelled to finish it. After sitting through that last bit I wasn't really glad I stuck around and the end sort of made the whole conflict of the movie irrelevant. Also I think the trailers and stuff are over-hyped because it seems like it will "shock you" when in reality the secret is uncovered rather calmly, but i suppose that's just good marketing. While this review has been mostly negative don't get me wrong, i loved the first half. I just think the movie hit it's climax and died down too early, leaving the last bit lingering on. Expand
  9. May 28, 2011
    6
    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.
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 29
  2. Negative: 2 out of 29
  1. Unlike "Exit Through the Gift Shop," Catfish isn't able to make the leap from odd incident to an indictment of our times.
  2. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    70
    Of all the twists in Catfish-the most surprising of all is what an honest and thoughtful film it turns out, against all odds, to be.
  3. 75
    The facts in the film are slippery, but the revelation of a human personality is surprisingly moving.