Catfish: Untangling What’s True and What’s False

 In Documentary, Everything, Good
Picture of Nev Shulman next to a portrait of Nev Shulman.


Directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Shulman

Pre-review note: some people have questioned if this is a documentary or a pseudo-documentary. I’m in the camp of: Really Happened But Also Footage Recreated.

The review:

It’s quite handy when your good-looking brother provides you with the setup for an interesting documentary; in this case the brother, Nev, received a painting by an eight-year-old of a photo he’d taken. Back before the internet, perhaps a written correspondence might have developed, but in 2010* Nev connected with the girl’s mother on Facebook, and subsequently became online friends with the entire family. The strength of this documentary is not just that it coined a now-common term,** but the humanity in which all parties are portrayed.***

The verdict: Good

Cost: Netflix monthly fee ($8.99)
Where watched: at home

Further sentences:

*When watching it’s important to transport yourself back to 2010, when we were just starting to talk about how accurate the online profiles of people are.
**Seemingly accidentally, as it’s an ancillary character telling a story that introduces the term.
***The confrontation scene in this movie could have been handled a number of ways: anger, villification, outrage. Instead it was done with compassion and resulted in an honest story that was the selling point of this film for me.


  • What was your favorite scene in this film? (I enjoyed the reading aloud of text messages.)
  • Do you think anything good came of this incident?

Favorite IMDB trivia item:

As of August 2011, the film has been hit with two lawsuits and, according to Catfish distributor Relativity Media, the film has an unrecouped balance of more than $8.5 million and will not likely ever become profitable. Both of these lawsuits have to do with songs used within the movie not being attributed to their creators.

(It’s important to do your due diligence with permissions.)

Other reviews of Catfish:

Orange background with black text: And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn't have somebody nipping at our fin. —Catfish. Read the three sentence movie review.
Share this.
Recommended Posts
  • Boyfriend Matt

    $8.5 million????? Jeez. Just make up your own songs. No one cares.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

Find contact information here.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search

gtag('config', 'UA-127116470-1'); An arch with text that reads: Fast ColorAn arch with text that reads: High School Musical