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Harley Lond's Movie Reviews (12)

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2.5/4 stars

Here's a documentary about the world of online social relationships that starts out as a love story and ends up as a detective mystery. Nev, a 24-year-old New York-based photographer (and brother to the film's co-director), meets online an 8-year-old girl from rural Michigan who sends him a painting she made of one of his photos. Nev begins a friendship and correspondence with the girl's family and even develops a cyber-romance with her attractive older sister, a musician and model. But some things about the family don't ring true, and Nev, his brother (Ariel Schulman) and co-director Henry Joost hit the road in search of the truth.Doubts have arisen as to how much of "Catfish" was planned from the outset (it does look like there were staged scenes along the way), but truth be told, there's really no such thing as a true, observational documentary cinema (unless you're Fredrick Wiseman, and even then the master has to chose and edit his subjects). And this film has enough reality behind it to make any questions as to its veracity moot -- these things happened and these people are real. It's a terrific cautionary tale about "connectedness" in the 21st century -- and it's a terrifically involving and well-made film. It's a shame that its theatrical run was so weak. If you're on Facebook, use Craigslist or Twitter, rent or buy "Catfish" right now!

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