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Catfish (2010)

PG-13 | | Documentary | 1 October 2010 (USA)
2:20 | Trailer

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Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries.
2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview:
Himself (as Yaniv 'Nev' Schulman)
Himself (as Ariel 'Rel' Schulman)
Angela Wesselman-Pierce ...
Herself (as Angela Wesselman)
Melody C. Roscher ...
Wendy Whelan ...
Dancer: Morphoses
Craig Hall ...
Dancer: Morphoses
Dancer: Morphoses
Drew Jacoby ...
Dancer: Morphoses
Rubi Pronk ...
Dancer: Morphoses
Adrian Danchig-Waring ...
Dancer: Morphoses


In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel's brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue. Written by Universal Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Don't let anyone tell you what it is.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

1 October 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sum  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$257,285 (USA) (17 September 2010)


$3,234,373 (USA) (26 November 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


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. See more »


Yaniv Schulman: [First lines] If this is your documentary, you're doing a bad job.
Ariel Schulman: Why?
Yaniv Schulman: Because you're catching me when I don't want to talk about things.
Ariel Schulman: How should we do it?
Yaniv Schulman: Set it up, organise a time with me, put together some materials, emails, we'll get the Facebook conversations printed out and we'll really talk about it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening logos are recorded off a computer (specifically a Mac). The Universal logo is shown as someone using Google Earth. The Relativity Media logo is shown as if it was an online video. The Rogue Pictures logo is shown as a desktop icon. See more »


References Mary Poppins (1964) See more »


Santorini Taverna
Written by Marc Ferrari & Matt Hirt
Performed by Matt Hirt
Published by Red Engine Music & Revision West
Courtesy of MasterSource Music Catalog
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fishing Scam
11 October 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Catfish" is a difficult film to talk about without spoiling. The sensationalist trailer gives a deliberately one-sided peek at a film which is ultimately defined by its ending. Expectations should probably be mediated, however—"Catfish" isn't going to blow your mind. In fact, the outcome of this social networking mystery is rather straightforward, but no less brilliant for it. This is a film where palpable suspense cedes way to an unconventional and thought- provoking character study. Maybe the best introduction I can offer is that I really liked it.

Arriving in a market practically gorged with tongue-in-cheek faux documentaries, it's initially difficult to take "Catfish" at face value. The story begins innocuously enough; Yaniv "Nev" Schulman has just had his first picture published in the New York Times when a package arrives at his office containing a painted replica of the photo. The artist is a 12 year- old admirer, and her correspondence begets a peculiar Facebook friendship. As Nev becomes involved with her and her family, however, he begins to notice certain inconsistencies with the perfect lives they lead online.

Much of the build-up feels stagey, and surely something is amiss, because either filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are considerably more talented directors than they portray themselves as, or they are not being entirely forthcoming. The prevalence of the camera during seemingly random moments that become key scenes seems perhaps a bit too fortuitous, and the placement and framing of the shots themselves seem too precisely calculated to have been captured on the fly for this amateur guerrilla venture.

Yet it doesn't matter in the slightest. "Catfish" is about calling our willingness to accept unsubstantiated information into question, and thus encourages a skepticism and natural inquisitiveness towards itself. The entire thing could be fabricated, and its creators have a built-in ace in the hole. Falsifying a non-fiction film about false identity could add a brilliant meta layer to the puzzle.

That being said, I don't believe that Joost and Schulman invented the whole thing. Somebody get these guys a pen and paper if they did. Rather, I tend to identify with the prevailing online rumor that suggests the ending was shot first, with some or most of the first half consisting of retroactive reenactments. But though I question the authenticity of certain moments, whether or not they are genuine seems beside the point—"Catfish" is an effective film.

The foundation of that success lies in its solid technique. The gradual rationing of information and the introduction and unraveling of the central mystery is surprisingly well handled. The plot is obtuse and intense when it needs to be, and the suspense is so potent that some have even been let down that it never becomes an all-out thriller.

But suspense has the tendency to be undervalued in an of itself, and the suspense in "Catfish" is an exceptionally executed, integral part of the ride. The film, on the whole, works not only because of its moments of seizing, visceral tension, but because of the greater message it evokes. In hindsight, scenes like those exploited in the trailer featuring Nev and his buddies arriving at a quiet farm in the dead of night seem downright silly when compared to where they eventually end up.

"Catfish" has been getting a ton of very positive press recently, and it deserves much of the praise it's received. But backlash follows hype like a shadow, and I have a feeling that those swayed into seeing the film who might not have otherwise will enter with unrealistic expectations. It is a fascinating, offbeat experiment, but it still appeals to niche interests. The extent to which we let ourselves believe that the internet is a direct extension of our preceptory senses can be dangerous—But I'll say no more. I don't want to spoil anything.

100 of 118 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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