User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 83
  2. Negative: 9 out of 83

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  1. Aug 18, 2013
    7
    A very interesting documentary that makes you think before you talk to people you think you know. It works because Nev is a very likeable person and when the reveal happens you kind of feel for Angela.
  2. Mar 1, 2013
    8
    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.
  3. Nov 10, 2012
    3
    Not nearly as good as it could have been. Predictable "twist", lacklustre ending, debatable whether the whole thing is even genuine. My advice, if you're going to watch this, don't pay to do so.
  4. Aug 26, 2012
    2
    It's not just dull, this movie is too convenient to be anything other than staged. It's lacks the happenstance of being an accidental documentary and thereby sullies its own credibility. The trailer told a tale of thrilling intrigue that the actual movie could never deliver. Thus, the promotion felt like a lie just as the premise feels like a lie. I want to say that the acting was fairly good, but the makers denied it was acting at all, so it's hard to find anything complimentary to say. The only truth revealed by this cinematic attempt is that in making a fake documentary about how nothing is real on the internet, the filmmaker's own lack of honest adds credence to the notion that the world is full of convenient lies. Expand
  5. Sep 28, 2011
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I liked Catfish. Doesn't matter if it's real or not, though I tend to think it's mostly true. The rawness of it all... it rang true to me!

    Apparently a lot of people saw a trailer and were disappointed by the film because the trailer made it out to be some horror slasher film, but I never saw the trailer before watching it, so I never had any of those silly expectations. It was what it was, and the humanity of the people involved just really got under my skin. I guess a lot of people, including me, would rather choose to believe that it's real. You know, I certainly wouldn't be surprised or shocked at all if they eventually came out and admitted it was fake. But there's this latent desire to believe in amazing feats of happenstance, and with this film, we want to believe that a couple of average guys in NYC could just stumble into creating this rather astounding and compelling documentary. But if it turned out to fake, it wouldn't be much of a change in my appreciation of the thing. It'd just mean that a couple of incredibly talented guys in NYC had instead created this rather astounding and compelling fictional story. PS: But dude, what was up with that male tramp stamp? Like seriously... that was probably the most unbelievable part of the film for me. Nev must be out of his goddamn mind.
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  6. j30
    Sep 22, 2011
    7
    A very engaging documentary. That is strange, funny, and just plain creepy. I found it entertaining and interesting in the way we look at social networking sites.
  7. 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 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
  8. Jul 10, 2011
    9
    Maybe I'm naive? I don't think so, because I'm an inveterate cynic and default to suspicion when a situation offers that alternative. Instead, I'm convinced "Catfish" is a tribute to the presentation of a terrific documentary that for my money was what I very infrequently refer to as "a moment in cinema." I don't know why the term "thriller" is used to generate interest, it's not your garden variety "thriller" but it is a thrill to watch a remarkable life unfold before your eyes. "Riveting"? Yep. That works. It is a riveting, edgy, moving, compassionate and expertly told story that comments on life from two ends of its rather lengthy spectrum. "Catfish" allows the viewer to see a facet of the human condition that those of us occupying the more mundane portion of life's spectrum (we grow up, develop relationships, a family, a "life") may not realize exists. But it does, in seemingly ordinary circumstances and the revelations are simply - for me, anyway - breathtaking. The question surrounding "Catfish" is its authenticity as a documentary. Like I wrote, maybe I'm naive, but it looks like one to me. Authentic and memorable. Expand
  9. Jun 20, 2011
    8
    There is a lot of press around whether or not the events in this documentary are true, but nevertheless, it is indicative of the way people deal with internal pain in the digital age. Before the Internet, Myspace, Facebook, dating sites, etc., people dealt with loneliness and pain in completely different ways. With the advent of new technology, though, seemingly shut-in, anti-social or introverted people can now explore a outside life without the fear of exposure or rejection. Well, unless you do what Nev allegedly did during this movie to get to the bottom of a relationship he THOUGHT he was building with a girl named Megan. The story that unwinds gets sadder and sadder, showing what this powerful, worldwide tool can be used for given the minds of certain people. True or not, Catfish does show the capabilities a twisted mind can use in this modern world. Expand
  10. 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.
  11. Mar 22, 2011
    8
    http://mushreviews.blogspot.com/2011/03/catfish.html I feel like this movie was a pretty big buzz movie when the trailer first came out do it's trailer and mysteriousness, and their marketing worked. I was dying to see this movie. Basically the trailer of the movie is about a guy filming a documentary on this girl and her family he's been helping, and their relationship is all over facebook. He then falls for the sister of the girl he's helping and goes to meet her but nothing is as it seems.

    Going into the movie I didn't know what to expect as the trailer only really covered a small percentage of the movie which I guess was probably their plan. Now, I'm not going to ruin the rest of the movie as I feel like that's the main draw to this movie is the unexpected hook thrown in the middle and then the movie is all about this new development. I will say I really loved the "moral" if you will of this story and you won't know what that is unless you watch it as well.
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  12. Feb 24, 2011
    7
    Intriguing contemporary documentary - Reality or fiction? That is the pivotal question in this American independent documentary produced by Andrew Jarecki who made his directorial debut with "Capturing the Friedmans" in 2003 and directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost who has stated that "Catfish" is a 100% true story. The story centers on photographer Yaniv "Nev" Schulman who lives in New
    York with his brother Ariel and friend Henry who are both filmmakers
    and who comes up with the idea of making a movie about Nev's romance
    with a woman called Megan whom he connects with on Facebook, and decide
    to record every step of the evolving relationship.

    This uncanny portrayal of a young man's infatuation with a woman he has
    never seen in real life, is an intriguing contemporary documentary
    which gives a memorable and critical depiction of online dating.
    "Catfish" has a convincing linear narrative and a good pace which
    serves the story well, but it also make it seem more like a fictional
    drama than a true documentary. The story first time directors Ariel
    Schulman and Henry Joost tells is by no means beyond imagination or
    absolutely unbelievable, but the unlikely reactions of the main
    characters and the story's very appropriate development makes one
    question weather this is reality or fiction. Aside from that, "Catfish"
    works just fine as a modest character study and a suspenseful thriller
    about art, friendship, love and networking.
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  13. 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 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
  14. Jan 30, 2011
    10
    The only part I didn't get was where they were in Chicago and drove north through Wisconsin and ended up in Gladwin before they got to the U P... I'm from Michigan, went to college in Chicago, and drove north through all of Wisconsin to go to Cross-Country camp in the U P... I'm pretty sure this would take some science I'm not sure of. Still, maybe the film was shuffled a bit in the editing. I'll give 'em the benefit of a doubt. Great film. I have to believe if it was faked, it would have had much more suspense and weirdness. It was almost the lack of these things that make it so weird. Maybe I'll be proved wrong. I am Kurious Oranj. Expand
  15. 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.
  16. Jan 13, 2011
    9
    Fascinating to say the least. A profoundly moving look into the technological age and the effects it can have on people and society.
  17. 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.
  18. Jan 12, 2011
    9
    one of the best movies ive seen this year. i caught myself making a phone call rite after i seen it to suggest it to a friend.. and if you have ever met anyone off the internet it will defiantly make you think twice about doing it again..
  19. 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 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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  20. Jan 7, 2011
    7
    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
  21. Jan 6, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. From watching trailers that had tag lines such as 'Shocking' and 'Haunting' I suppose that I assumed that the film would inevitably turn into a half-baked slasher film or something like that. I couldn't of been more wrong, the film actually surprised me. When looking at reviews for this film some of the comments were that it doesn't comment on contemporary living with social networking sites, as though this is a bad thing. I thought it was great that the film didn't force morals onto me or make me take sides, that's the beauty of it. Expand
  22. Jan 4, 2011
    2
    This is an exceptionally dull film. Dull in concept, dull in execution. It's obvious from the very moment it starts that what you're watching is fake. It starts out looking like it's going one way and then spends the rest of the film doing just that. There is no twist, no great revelation just dull plodding predictability.
  23. Jan 2, 2011
    7
    Chatting and texting with a woman which he never met in real life for 8 months, Nev Schulman was in love (on Facebook). His brother Ariel decided to film Nev's relationship with "Megan", a girl he met while doing some business with her mother online. Not knowing where the documentary was headed, Ariel's determination proved itself to be worthwhile. More than half of the film is a guy chatting with a girl online, so the premise may make some uncomfortable. But the last 30 minutes of the film unravelled some disturbing moments that you could only imagine. Catfish proved that online dating isn't helping anyone with a problem yet damages them even more. Perhaps the message isn't what a lot of people want to hear since the story might relate to them, but it is the damn truth. Expand
  24. Dec 22, 2010
    0
    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.
  25. 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
  26. Oct 16, 2010
    7
    It was a little dull to get through but worth it in the end because for me I really felt for life as a result. Sad. Real. Despite all that's not what it's pretending to be...I call this the other facebook movie, and it's more real, more emotionally rewarding by far, than that "s" network thing.
  27. Oct 11, 2010
    7
    Without giving anything away, this film is very interesting. It plays like a thriller at times, and is pretty bare bones when it comes to filmmaking techniques. The less you know about the film before seeing it, the better.
  28. Oct 9, 2010
    8
    This movie pulled at my heart unexpectedly towards the end as I was extremely sympathetic towards Niv's search for love. Without going into the details of the movie which you really must see for yourself, I will say that this low-budget film evoked more emotion from me than most of the bloated Hollywood movies of late. There's a powerful commentary in this movie about the differentiation between virtual and real life. Please give Catfish a look if it's playing in your area. I drove about 90 miles to go see it a week ago, and I thought the trip was well worth it Expand
  29. 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
  30. Oct 3, 2010
    10
    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. Collapse
  31. Sep 27, 2010
    9
    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.
  32. CMC
    Sep 24, 2010
    10
    The movie is a very interesting story that is the natural result of the facebook phenomena. It is thoroughly entertaining in a casual and breezy way, has inventive and fun graphic sequences using google and internet graphics, and the main protagonist is compelling. When I find myself thinking about a movie the next day, then I know it was as good as I thought. The middling critic's scores are baffling to me. It does not need to be "an indictment of our times"; it is light-hearted but not cute. It reminds me a lot of "Crumb" by Terry Zwigoff. Expand
  33. Sep 21, 2010
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. As I walked out the theater, I overheard someone utter, â Expand
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. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    25
    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.