Friday, September 24, 2010

Catfish- She said (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Okay, I’m prefacing this by saying that I cannot talk about this movie without MAJOR SPOILERS. Pretty much this is a discussion piece more than a review, so if you don’t want to be spoiled…stop reading, go see the movie, then come back and finish the article. :)

So let me start off by saying that I actually really enjoyed Catfish. I felt that the movie was very moving and tragic. In the end, the story had nothing to do with the premise that you’re given. The basic story is about Nev, who is a photographer, and Abby, a nine year old artist, and how their relationship starts and how Nev’s relationships with Abby’s family evolves and comes to be. In the end, Nev (and his documentary making buddies), go to meet Abby, her mom Angela, sister Megan (who Nev has had an online/phone relationship with), and the end results of that meeting.

Now within the first part of the movie, you can tell where the story is going. You know that Abby probably doesn’t paint Nev’s photographs. But the real heart of the story happens when Nev finally meets Angela. He gets a look into her life. She’s a stay-at-home mom of Abby and two step sons with debilitating disorders, and she’s had to give up her dreams of painting professionally because her family had to come first. It’s the classic situation of choosing between family and career. So, in order to maintain some sanity, Angela found some of Nev’s photos and began to paint and send them to him. That doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary.

Then, the more Nev gets closer to Angela’s daughter Megan through Facebook, phone calls, and texting, he begins to see inconsistencies in Megan, Angela and even Abby. Anytime Nev calls, Abby is mysteriously not there or asleep. He finally gets to talk to her once, but only for about a minute. When he travels to see Megan, the address she claims is her farm is vacant. When he asks Abby about painting, she says she doesn’t paint much, and she hasn’t seen her sister in a long time. So, finally Nev confronts Angela about everything, and she admits to painting the paintings, pretending to be Megan on the phone (Angela has two phones for such purposes), and admits to Nev how miserable she is but understands that being a mother is her job.

During this confession, your heart breaks for Angela. She is stuck. I mean like really stuck in her situation. There is literally no hope for her to escape and pursue her dreams. So, she created this alternate world for herself that she lives online. Her story of how she escapes her life makes you wonder how many people do the same thing now because of how easily accessible social networks are nowadays.

Initially I thought I was going to feel for Nev, and I did a little, but Angela became the more tragic character for me. I couldn’t imagine being that hopeless that creating another life online would help me stay sane. In the end, the movie comments more about the relationships that develop through social mediums. Now, what’s great is, depending on your experiences, there’s so much you can take from this movie. It’s a fabulous conversation piece. Sure, there’s speculations of how much of the movie is real/fabricated, but I don’t find that important because the message is still the same.

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