Don't spoil Catfish

This doc is infuriating and untrustworthy, but try to stop watching.

Yaniv Schulman is a photographer. His brother Ariel is a filmmaker. Abby is an eight-year-old from Michigan who sends Yaniv beautiful paintings of his photos. Megan is her half-sister, with whom Yaniv strikes up a virtual, romantic relationship. Ariel films it all. As the brothers head to Michigan so that Yaniv and Megan can finally meet, they get a few disarming clues and worry that on the other side of this communication is not a 19-year-old blonde, but...what? Questions about Catfish's validity as a documentary have been following it since Sundance, but the documentary has been maligned beyond recognition by contemporary filmmakers---the glory days of Barbara Kopple and the Maysles have been edited out of the picture by the biased lenses of Michael Moores and Morgan Spurlock. The Schulmans are attractive, comfortable on camera ---so if they're actors, what to make of their treatment of the small-towners they unearth in Michigan? Catfish is confounding, infuriating and untrustworthy. But try to stop watching.

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