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by • September 17, 2010 • NewsComments (340)433

CATFISH: Real or Fake? It’s a fake…sort of.

Last night I got a chance to watch CATFISH which is being marketed as a cautionary documentary that explores the world of online relationships, or at least a couple of online relationships that one guy has.

Throughout the entire film it all felt fake to me, but after the movie was over and talking with my other film critic friends they were all baffled how I could think it was fake. That got me to thinking…”maybe it is real?!” but then logic sat in and I realized that all of this is based on the internet, so I will just do the research myself.


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Now, let me stress to you that I don’t think the entire film is fake, there are elements in the film that are legit but for the most part the majority of the film doesn’t add up and most of the film was re-enacted/re-created.

I am putting a strict warning here, if you read anything below this it will spoil the movie for you. There is no way around that, so my advice…go see the movie then come back here to read this.


Everything is on camera. As a documentary film maker myself, the perils of getting everything on camera will drive you insane. In CATFISH, absolutely anything that holds any weight in the movie is on camera somehow. So for running a production company and making another film as the same time as CATFISH they still had time to film Nev almost completely non stop and at all the perfect moments. So this is either extremely lucky, or really staged.

The timing of when they actually started filming is a little weird to me as well. At what point would any filmmaker say “oh you know what, my brother got some paintings of his portraits from an 8 year old, that are mediocre at best, perhaps we should start documenting this”? There doesn’t seem to be any real reason why they would just start filming him non stop. They claim it’s because he is very cinematic and they always film him, but at the beginning of the film he states that he doesn’t want to be filmed, he doesn’t want to be the center of this documentary.

Their Blog: When I was reading up on their production company’s blog, I went through every entry back to the beginning of the site. In the film they start learning of the lies from Megan and Angela while they are in Vail Colorado shooting video for the Vail International Dance Festival. While on the plane they meet a young girl:

and give us this description of her:

That sounds remarkably similar to the Megan, the girl that Nev falls in love with in CATFISH. She is a model who has recently purchased a horse farm from a small town. Coincidence?

They also document every trip they take on this blog, as well as production on their films. However there is absolutely no mention of ever going to Michigan in the August or September blog posts. In fact there is never a mention about even shooting scenes for the film that eventually becomes CATFISH. There is a gigantic gap in posts from the middle of August to the middle of September.


Photo of Megan and Vince: After seeing the movie we know that Angela, the mother of Abby, was the culprit behind all of it. She used photos from someone she found online and posted them to a fake facebook account for Megan. The photos we see of Megan and her Dad Vince didn’t actually go online until March 28th 2008. In the film we see the photos at the beginning of the film, which is supposed to be late 2007.

Also, who in their right mind would actually believe the guy next to her was her Dad?! That is insanity that these guys could honestly be so easily duped.

Link to the mp3 of the song downhill: In the movie, after they are in Vail which we know we at the beginning of August, Nev is having a chat with Megan. In the chat she sends him a link to an mp3 of a song she supposedly recorded. I found the chat transcript on the CATFISH website:

So I decided to check out Charte.net and as of February 2008 it has been nothing but a landing page. See below:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080225112354/http://www.charte.net/

So it is obvious that this chat transcript is completely fake. In the film this would have taken place in August/September of 2008.

The Plot: The story seems to follow the big plot twist of MY KID COULD PAINT THAT, where the dad faces accusations that he is painting the portraits for his daughter. In CATFISH, Angela, the mother, is actually painting the photos for Abby.

Angela: After Nev confronts Angela with the truth, she does nothing more than put her head down. She never freaks out. She never asks them to stop filming. Instead she accepts that she is caught in a HUGE lie, on camera that could completely ruin her marriage and everything she has, and continues to let them film without any questions asked? This is insanity to me! Her husband had absolutely no idea what was going on behind the scenes, its almost as if she wants her marriage to end and her husband to find out she is insane…or its fake.

Abby; The original subject of the “Documentary”: At the beginning of the film Nev tells us that Abby is the focus of the documentary, most likely because she is 8, and her mom is telling them that she is a local celebrity and all of her paintings are being sold around town. So they decide, at some point, that they should focus in on Abby and her paintings of Nev’s photographs.

So, a professional production team at no point goes to google in order to do some research on the new subject of their documentary? They seem pretty tech savvy with their iPhones and mini HD cameras. Why wouldn’t they try and get just a little bit of information just for the overall success of what they set out to shoot?

The only thing we re-created were the close-ups on the computer screen: This is the part of their explanation for the film that is super vague. What exactly are they considering “close-ups”? Is it only the parts where you only see the pages up close? Is it the scenes where you see mostly the computer and a little bit of Nev? And what exactly do they mean by re-created? At the end of the film they tell us that Angela deleted all of the profiles. Did they go back in and recreate all of the profiles? Did they use the same photos from before? At this point had they asked permission from the real “Megan” to use all of her photos in the film?

The real Megan: The girl that we know as Megan in the movie, is actually not named Megan at all. Her name is Aimee Gonzales (which we find out about in the movie). She is a model and photographer. Reading through her wall posts, it seems as though she frequently photographs dancers, just as Nev does, and is currently in New York as I type this. It seems that its a bit too much of a coincidence that they are both photographers, both shoot dancers and she is also doing it in the same city that Nev typically does his in. How is it that they haven’t run across each others path? Unlikely.

All of the above information doesn’t prove that the film is entirely fake. What it does prove is that much of the film has been recreated, and its possible that they did it in such a way to create a story where there might not have been one to begin with.

You be the judge.

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  • Laura Marie Roth

    ~`Nev,very mature man…In every way of dealing with all the crazy curve balls,that woman threw @ you….& you turned it all around into a possitive,instead of being a hater,i’m so proud of you….May yoy get everthing you want & deserve out of Life,you sure do deserve it,Best Of Luck,Laura Marie`~

  • Crystal

    why is it so hard to believe this can happen? I live in Ny and I remember years ago before FB/myspace always random people talking to me online and pretending to be someone they weren’t. eventually I’d figure it out because no one can lie that good. I remember this random lesbian supposedly would nonstop wanna hit on me etc though I’m not into that. the funniest thing when I gave her my # to see if she’d actually call and her friend “dave” called me instead because she was too scared. then suddenly she was never talked about again, obviously it was him the whole time. there were tons of guys who did that thinking they’d get somewhere or they just got off on it? either way when fb/myspace became more popular and you could search by emails/screen names suddenly I saw who these real people were. we all believe what we’re told usually especially when it’s just the internet. so really why is this so hard to believe? I’ve had tons of people randomly email me and I start talking to them and I can just imagine if suddenly this person had a really hot brother for me :) who was into similar things and wrote songs for me. who wouldn’t go for that?

    • nate

      its not hard to beleive that this happens its just hard to beleive that in this specific documented instence that it happened here.

  • Crystal

    there are tons of sad lonely people out there who do this stuff. I’ve seriously encountered 100s of people like that on the internet over the past 10 years. from weirdo old man who claimed to be my age with tickets to concerts of bands I loved, though with one quick search there was no show! creepy. to the guys pretending to be lesbians. to this one guy who pretended to be some girl married to a famous london tennis player. everyone would read her online journal and she had tons of friends. then she randomly posted a picture of a baby room and someone noticed her london flat had US outlets. so she was obviously lying and had nothing to say, no defense to that when she clearly said look at our new london flat and posted picture of the baby room. these were the days when people would talk for hours on aim or aol with people. before we all had free long distance and it was the only way to talk to anyone far away. so I really don’t see how everyone has to claim this is fake and no way could it happen. there really are sad and lonely people out there who do this all the time. just for the attention. I remember people making up other journals just to make pretend fights and all kinds of stuff. that was just on one website. there was some other guy who pretended to be a girl also and even sent some of us presents claiming she was so rich and had her daddy’s credit card. was obviously just a perv who would be like oh take a picture in your new sweater. that was so long ago I can’t even remember how we figured out it was a guy, plus it happened so much. the only thing I’d ever say about the movie is how shocking it is that it happened to a guy because most of this stuff happens to girls. I wish I had a camera to film all my stuff. then again only a guy would actually go to the house and investigate.

    • HoweFeltrsnatch

      Reply to Crystal, It was a good observation noticing the outlets in the London flat. The thing is alot of people especially Americans moving to London will and can easily change or have the outlets switched. It’s very common especially over the last 16 years. A friend of mine studying architecture move thr in 97 and had to do this. He just had to pay the owner of the building for a 12 volt regulator which could switch the and sustain the voltage safely a power inverter was added. He said alot of people over thr have done this from ordering or winning American electronics on ebay. Still you had a point.

  • Lizz

    Lizz Brown, an “artist” from New Orleans, did this exact same thing on myspace a few years ago. She only had 6 profiles going at once meaning, once again, she delivered subpar work compared to others. There really are sad people like this in the world.

  • trisyork

    If the author of this article watched the movie he would know vince is only abbys father not megans, they are half sisters

  • HoweFeltrsnatch

    As a costume designer and art Dept asst,also been a production asst on dozens of films and videos. I’m now making a doc called Driving Cincinnati. Just letting all of you know I leave my Sony HD can running everytime I’m out. Rarely will I pause or stop and never do I turn it off but to change batteries. All of you who don’t work in the film industry really have no idea how movies or documentaries are made. Before I started in this industry in 04 I really thought I knew everything about movies because I was a film buff w a DVD collection of over 2000 films. I really got a reality check. The editing process really takes any timeline way way out of wack. Shooting hours, wardrobe and hair plus make up makes shooting in a timeline impossible. All of you know it alls stating this doc is fake and all your reasons for it sound extremely ignorant to all of us who actually work in film and know the ins and outs of movie making. Trust me until you actually are working your ass off on a movie set for 16-20 hours a night you know nothing about it. Until you sit at partisan for hours while a film is being edited or through color correction or sound you will never truly understand what goes on.

  • HoweFeltrsnatch

    Oh and Scott as for the comment about Aimee Gonzoles being a photographer like Nev being some clue to something. Your not so bright. Don’t you think when Angela started the whole thing she had chose Aimee for this reason because she had so much in common with Nev. This makes much more sense. Anyone else agree?

    • Lyndsay

      She used the photos of Aimee but did not use anything from Aimee’s bio to woo Nev. So her knowingly using the photographs of a woman Nev may have crossed professional paths with would have been a huge risk. It is suspect that of all the free images online, the images used were those belonging to someone who, like Nev, professionally photographed dance photos.

      I also read your first post and upon reading it, though it’s been ages since you posted it, I feel compelled to ask your opinion on something. While I completely understand and appreciate your point about filmmakers always having a camera at arm’s length, don’t you also give a great amount of thought to the legal ramifications any one of your recordings could some day produce?

      I think the oddest thing about Catfish is these young men, who were highly tech savvy, neglected to do any background searching on this self-proclaimed small-town celebrity. For either legal reasons or simple curiosity, I would think they would have performed a Google search early on in the whole process.

      • Carson

        Lyndsay- Some possible explanations for why they did not research Abby are that Nev’s ego got in the way. He was flattered that his photo had inspired someone and that possibly made him reluctant to doubt that it was real. Because, in his mind, Abby was a child, it’s possible that he was more trusting. There was the childlike handwriting, the childlike touches such as ‘wear your brain bucket’, etc. And, I think that for some males there is a thing were a little girl being enamored with you / having a crush on you is highly intoxicating. Not in a pedophilic way, more in the manner of it being intoxicating that this angelic female child sees you as a hero or even a knight in shining armor. ( ask an adult male who has been in the position where a friend’s 8 yr old daughter expresses a “crush” on them….and everyone jokes about how “cute” it is. ). Many males are drawn to the idea of females being in love with them, even when the female is a very young girl. It’s also possible that they did do a search and found nothing, but rationalized that it was such a small town that there was nothing online about her. ( and here it may have been urban elitists operating on the patronizing mindset that country bumpkins would not have much internet presence ).

  • Andrew

    Basically if you are going to get this involved with someone, who you haven’t met.. especially if they are many many miles away.. then never go by photo’s and words alone.. get them on webcam.. if they don’t have one, then basically it will be all down to trust… The biggest problem with many social networks, is the huge number of fake accounts.. same applies to many dating sites, where the photo’s you do see are either not the person in question of photoshopped…

    My own personal experience led to me finding and meeting a beautiful woman, with one child 4 years old, who was never married… She was in the Philippines I was in the UK. I was 49, she was 27.. Yes I went there to meet her.. Yes she was just as she was on Facebook and I had got her on webcam many times and not only become good friends with her. but many of her friends and even most of her immediate family.

    Many many people warned me women from Philippines, Thailand and a few other Asian countries are only after one thing.. a new life somewhere. usually the UK and the USA

    Well they were wrong… do your research, get to know as much as you can about them, get them of webcam.. Give it at least a year before you go travelling across the planet..

    I will admit that although we never got along very very well on our first meeting. we have not yet decided to start up a serious relationship…..but I will be heading back there in the new year and we will see what happens.

    • RequireThis

      Oh my god, what an embarrassing story…
      A middle aged loser cyber-preying on a much younger (and probably desperate and vulnerable) girl in a 3rd world country. This isn’t something to brag or preach about as if “do as I do!!! because I am the shining example of an Internet dater trying to find a free mail-order bride!!” It literally screams “loser,” and maybe even “50 yr old virgin.” A total creep. Most smart women would be repulsed by you.

      • Roshambo

        Totally agree!

      • henriettaRhippo

        Wow! RequireThis, you really need to grow up. How can you possible find that story offensive? Andrew met a nice, younger lady with a kid, became friends with her and her family and now visits her. They’re relationship started off in one plays and is now growing into something stronger. That’s kind of how a grown-up relationship works. It’s not like she was a child. She was 27 years old…with a child. She’s an adult and he’s an adult who found company with each other. To be perfectly honest most decent human beings would be repulsed by you with that closed minded thinking.

      • Andy

        Seems like a pretty hard judgement on someone you hardly know. Nothing wrong with being a virgin at 50. Oh and the Philippines is not a third world country.

  • http://veryware.com frankyjsmith

    watch the bonus after the movie they explain alot or the bullcrap your writting about

  • shaniqua

    I’m not sure where ur information has come from but aimee aka Megan doesn’t live in new York she was flown out by nev and friends to tell her about Angela and her stolen identity I believe that they r releasing another movie with aimee and her reaction and to find out who all the people in the photos really are there is footage up on you tube.

    • wanderingballoon

      Exactly. Pretty sure she was from Oregon.

  • Daria

    Like honestly.. Who gives a rat’s ass if it’s the hardcore truth, partially fake or even entirely fake? The story has a great point to it, taking up on a huge dilemma in today’s society. More and more people are getting themselves isolated in their own small worlds where they find themselves unhappy and excluded. Social networking is the perfect way to escapism, and there are probably a lot more people out there just like Angela. I actually loved the movie and its message, and it doesn’t make a difference to me if some of it or even all of it is made up.

  • Star

    This is such a great movie, I love how they do the same thing to anyone watching at the end and scam people into thinking it’s all real.
    The title gives it away, they are the Catfish.

  • meng

    just got done watching this in school not sure if its real or not but from the beginning when they found out that the cover of the song was fake I’d never talk to them again

  • All White Everything

    You people are ass clowns, the movie is fake as hell. No one would have let them film that shit if they got caught in such a lie. They’re excuses are pathetic for how it is real. They’re being sued precisely because they can’t prove its a documentary because it isn’t tards.

    • mecca5678

      Check your information. They are being sued for the songs used in the movie they didn’t give credit for, not because it isn’t a documentary. Both of these lawsuits have to do with songs used within the movie not being attributed to their creators. I’m not saying this movie is real, but before you go making a claim, make sure your information is correct.

      • jomara

        your info is not correct, too. the owner/s of the songs are SUING them precisely because Catfish seems more fiction than documentary, because if it’s a documentary (as the filmmaker/s claim), the filmmaker can get away with rights, etc. because it’s documented REALITY. but if it’s FAKE, hence, a fiction, then they need to pay up.

  • Bobby

    I can’t decide if it’s real, fake, or a little of both. It’s either a great documentary or a brilliant movie. In either case I fucking loved it and that’s all that really matters.

  • JohnD

    yea, I don’t watch movies until they hit HBO…. Good Analysis, to me the debate is whether the movie is entirely fake, or just recreated and reimagined based upon an actual facebook deception created by that same actual woman from MI in the film. I say reimagined, because I can not believe they would not have done some online research on Amy, the farm and gallery well in advance of the trip to Vail, and I can not believe that the film would be possible without having the contractural consent of that woman.

  • Sarah Gregory

    its like those paranormal movies it prob a renactment of what happened to that guy. the women was escaping a dull and hard life. she had disabled step kids to care for a young daughter and a dim wit for a husband so I guess she needed a break and pretending to be all these people gave her that sad really and I Feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for the guy too he thought he wad chatting to a hot chick and it was a fat ugly women of 40 if he had any sense he would have worked that out when they spoke on the phone it sad but the internet is a dangerous place and easy to lie on so always have your wits about u

  • Matilda Brazil

    Why does the documentary never explain why this fellow is chasing Megan, when he is obviously gay??

    • liz

      Exactly.

    • wanderingballoon

      Don’t judge him by his tramp stamp. lol

  • vita_k

    i’m not sure i buy its authenticity either. i personally know someone that something like this has happened to, so i know it’s possible, and i’m believing that it may even have happened to nev, but this is, at best, a retelling of that story.

    the most damning thing to me (that hasn’t much been mentioned) is the mail at the farm that they just took out of the mailbox. all coincidences aside, taking mail from a mailbox that isn’t yours is a federal offense. it doesn’t matter if the mail itself has your name on it, if it’s not your mailbox, you cannot take anything out of it. you can’t even put anything into it. yet these guys are on camera taking mail out of a mailbox that isn’t theirs, and the usps has not pressed charges, despite lawsuits already pending due to copyright infringement.

    the most plausible answer, imo, is that it IS theirs, or they have express permission beforehand to shoot that scene. my take on this film, for what it’s worth, is that the film is comprised of recreated scenes, most likely starring the original people involved.

  • Andrew

    This reminds me of the controversy when the Speilberg documentary E.T was released. Lots of people back in 1982 were all over the internet saying things like “Is this real?” and “Speilberg is massive fraud. He should be banned from making fake documentary films and pretending they are real”.

    Now I’m not saying that there weren’t elements of the film that were obviously not real. For instance, that scene in the classroom where Elliott kisses that girl seems a little far fetched to me. But I think you’ll have to agree that the documentary has stood the test of time and all but the most cynical critics now fully realise that this was a masterpiece in real documentary film making.

    It was a shame that Speilberg had to spoil it all by making fictitious films later in his career such as Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, but there’s nothing wrong with cashing in on the opportunistic documentary he happened to make in the 80’s.

    • poopooface hmu

      you were reading this at 2 in the moring, this morning lolololololololololol

    • Annie

      @Andrew – Hilarious.
      @jb – I really hope you were not serious.

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  • Pete

    I think you’ve made some good points.
    However, I still enjoyed the movie either way…

    One quibble:
    In the photo from Aimee’s facebook page above, you write:

    “…who in their right mind would actually believe the guy next to her was her Dad?! ….”

    In the film, I believe thatthe picture was supposed to be of Megan and her STEP-dad, Angela’s husband.

  • John

    I don’t like being lied to. I won’t bother watching this film. It is made for gullible people, which is cool, but not interested.

  • J.B

    @Andrew: quote “Lots of people back in 1982 were all over the internet …”
    Really ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet

    • Andrew

      J.B, you’ve made me look stupid now.

      • Scatfist

        Andrew, 1982? I’m not sure, but I don’t remember bikes being invented until the late 90s. Might be based on truth and recreated, but I’m not buying it as a doco. Plus, what did ET eat while he was here on earth? I didn’t see them open one jar of krill – not one. Although he did have that thinspo look about him so it could have been a weightloss retreat. Why won’t Spielberg answer these questions?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_bmx_bikes

        On topic, it was interesting to see Yev’s
        smile change from enthusiastic and charismatic to depleted, disappointed and shy during the special features. He tried to pass it off as though nothing had changed but it seemed like he was jaded and humiliated by the whole experience. I don’t know, but I’m calling true. Plus, why would the lady who either was Angela or played Angela sign a release form, because either way it implicates her as psychotic? Unless there is some truth in that she did have schizophrenia and alleged that she manipulated them, which is the only explanation as to why you’d see her face.

  • Don

    It is no joke what this young man went through. His brother and friend documenting an environment that chronicles the abuse of misinformation. Yes , while Angela and company should receive compassion and empathy to be sure, … it is Nev who deserves our sympathy for the heartbreak and years of coming to terms with opening a heart to someone that has absolutely no investment in the well being of the person(s) involved in the melodrama unfoldig into the segmant of society that has COMPASSION enough to actually become INVOLVED. It is so easy to sit and pass judgement and CONVICTION on an environment that you will NEVER encounter
    ( and you may thank God) personally except through a documentary such as the one ridiculed by the aforementioned. You want to know anothers nightmare come real? Ask me … but look at Nevs last photo in the film… that look cannot be imitated .. PERIOD

  • Erin

    Do they ever say how they ended up finding the “real” Megan? Or do we assume later on that Angela told them where she really got the photos? And if there is no Megan at Dawn Farms, why did Abby say she had a sister but couldn’t remember her face? Is there a real Megan but she just doesn’t live at Dawn Farms? I feel like they left our a few too many details for it not to appear just a bit catfishy.

  • http://www.ontheinternetnobodyknowsyoureadog.com/ Alina

    On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a catfish…

    Knowing who you are really talking to online is very difficult. We recently started a campaign to raise awareness about the issues of trust and identity on the Internet. It’s proving really popular, take a look at it here http://youtu.be/_hNZ8LFE5DA and please share your stories to help create trust online.

    Thank you.

  • Lindom8

    Andrew, that was the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

  • Jeaux Bleaux

    Who is the Catfish, Angela or the filmmakers? Maybe it’s Scott`. LOL

  • SAY

    Its Charter.net….not charte.net. And it exists. Not trying to shoot down your theory, figured you might want to edit for accuracy though. :-)

  • http://benkronberg.com @benkronberg

    I’m late to this party and just finished the movie while on a train from Baltimore to Richmond. (is this true?) I’m a Stand Up comedian who must lie all the time in order to produce real laughter. (Am I a fraud?)

    Fiction can reveal truth through the telling of a tale just as documentary can conceal the truth in order to tell the best story. They both occupy each other’s space in this way. They are about the Story. They both, in a way, are “make believe.” Skepticism should always be a part of the dialogue when someone says: this is true! this is a documentary! We never question fiction’s truth, we question its ability to make us not care that it is all fake. A documentary’s power comes with the thought that what we are watching is real. Edited film is never “REAL” It is edited and directed and scored all to make us experience the story or essence of the piece of art. Film/video is a representation and record of something that was captured. “The grass was not that green in the real life scene!” In this case we are the echo/analogy of the “filmmakers”: Niv is our Angela and we are his Niv. What we take away from it is what matters. We aren’t movie police. We aren’t truth police. We are the audience.

    The uncertainty of facts and questions we have, give the film its power. Ken Burns’ style of Non-fiction film never makes us wonder what’s going on, what’s going to happen next. His rendition isn’t the empirical “Truth” either. With his pastiche of old photographs and lyrical panning style, Burns lulls us with the facts of who the person was and what they did. History wasn’t as pretty and calm as he depicts it to be. Burns is choosing what to tell us and what not to tell us and how to tell us.

    The truth is the “whole truth” and nothing but the truth? Right?

  • Aemi

    The real interesting part is that Angela, Abby, and Vince are all real people. I saw the heading for Angela’s gallery at the end of the movie and googled it based off what I could read that wasnt blurred out (Paintings by A.) and managed to get it on the first hit. The background is different but the painting that the movie showed was there. All three have actual facebook accounts and are all commission-able artists. If it was a fake, they went to extreme lengths to make it look real. But thats besides the point since the core message of the movie holds far more weight in the end.

  • Mute Spittah

    It is genius what they have done. They created this documentary with a fake story about a fake story. A type of inception sort of thing. So the reality of this documentary is a fictional story about what can happen in reality. The plot is about an old lady making a fake family just like the film overall is a person making up a fake story. Love it!

  • Makumba

    The title obviously proves it is fake. One of the very few and very final shots of the obviously Not too Bright husband has him comming up with this amazing little story about the cat fish being shipped with other fish to China and the brilliant analogy it has with spicing people’s lives up. Such a Brilliant response from a Dimwit which miraculously was a perfect meaning and title for the movie…Genious.

  • http://www.fotogenico.co.uk/index.php?str=offer Anna

    I just watched the movie and knew it was fake but googled Angela Pierca and yes, found 3 websites with galleries of her. Abby’s and Vincent’s. Who are these people??

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  • CatfishAreGross

    Yes Some Things In This Movie Dont Add Up , Like Angelas Reaction buuuut Regardless of If This Movie Is Real Or Not This Actually Happens Everyday. Everytime i log into a “social network” i see fake pages of people pretending to be someone their not. even if the movie is fake at the same time its about something thats real and is actually happening maybe now as we speak..

  • CaliGurl

    No one should feel sorry for angela. this bitch lied about having cancer.

  • PeteMoss

    I saw the mildly entertaining film – it’s not a documentary in any respect. It’s also not really teaching a lesson – if you never thought of this or didn’t know about this identity fraud on the internet, I ask, what rock have you been living under?
    It’s scripted comedy/drama and written to portray a potential “real-life” scenario, perfect for reality tv garbage!
    Shall we be upset with these geniuses for getting what they worked hard for? Nope! They scored a show with MTV after their movie didn’t produce much. They had a great idea and they have a plethora of good material to work with based on real examples of individuals and plausible scenarios.
    Is it real? partly, but not in the way that YOU want to believe it – you want to believe they are in harm when approaching some ghetto apartment as you wouldn’t want to believe that everything was scripted and arranged weeks or months in advance. That doesn’t give the viewer that awkward feeling and suspenseful feeling – I totally understand that!
    I don’t care if people find it entertaining, but I will politely tell you it’s mostly fake if you try to tell me that it’s all real.

  • N

    It’s all fake. That Nev guy is obviously gay. Come on! With a sassy voice like that, who in their right minds would think he’s straight?

    • Passerby

      Honestly, that’s a really bold and rude statement. Especially considering you said just because that he had a sassy voice means he’s gay. I know lots of gay people that don’t have sassy voices. Seriously, if you’re going to judge this movie being fake on that lone statement, you need to do some serious re-thinking.

      And stop using stero-types, it makes you look like an asshole.

  • Crimhead

    While some of this film was obviously re-enacted (and the film-makers have admitted that essentially everything before Colorado was re-enacted), the last 40 minutes are almost certainly real.

    The writer here uses one of the biggest logical fallacies of deductive argument as the main thrust of most of his criticism: i.e. he presuppose that lack of proof is proof in and of itself.

    He also presuppose that we’ve captured EVERYTHING on film. There may have been some serious smoking-gun moments that weren’t filmed at all. We have no idea.

    Also, the writer doesn’t seem to have paid all that much attention to the film at some points. For instance the vince photo. No, we are not meant to believe that Vince is Megan’s dad. Angela never said he was; she said he was Abby’s dad. Vince is a perfectly plausible age to be Abby’s dad. If you’re going to throw stones, at list know what you’re throwing them at.

    Also, Angela has subsequently appeared on ABC’s 20/20 shouldering full blame for her part in this. Irrespective of what the film-makers may have done in recreating events for the visual aspect of the movie, Angela admits that she did indeed create 21 Facebook personalities and that she purposefully did so in order to gain appreciation for her art, seduce Nev and just escape from her life in general. As this is the essence of the film’s message, I don’t think anyone could possibly say that it’s “fake.”

    It would probably be more than fair to say that it was presented to us in a purposefully contrived way, with a narrative thread that was much more concise and focused that what could possibly have happened in real life.

    The movie makes it seem as though Nev spends his whole life talking with Megan, getting pantings, etc. Read the last few slates of the film–it says that Nev and “Megan” sent over 1500 texts in the 8-9 months covered by the film. That’s really not all that many for 3/4 of a year–it averages out to about 2.7 per day per person. Considering most people (myself included) text each other in flurries rather than slow streams, it’s safe to assume days probably went by when they didn’t text or contact at all. Clearly Nev had lots of time to be doing other things, having a whole other life we never see in this documentary. Don’t let the tunnel vision necessarily imposed by the film allow you to develop your own.

    • Luke

      Fair points all… but there are some clear discrepancies from Colorado onwards too, though not documented here.

      The toughest one to explain for me is why Abby’s friend would know that Abby had an older sister Megan, and why Abby would claim to not know what Megan looks like ANYMORE. That clearly implies that, at some point in the past, Abby DID know what Megan looked like, but that isn’t possible since Megan doesn’t exist.

      There are only three options. One, Abby and her friends are playing along with Angela’s lie, but then why not ALSO play along with the part about Abby being an artist.

      Two, Angela has lied to her daughter (and likely the rest of her family) about the fact that Abby has a half-sister, and at some point either shown them a picture of “Megan” (which would have to be a picture of someone else) or even introduced someone in person as Megan to them. The problem here is this significantly changes Angela’s character from someone trapped by terrible circumstances and looking for a way to express herself and find friendship to a thoroughly unlikable person who would lie to her daughter about a sister who doesn’t exist.

      My feeling is that the set up is REAL (IE, Angela really contacted Nev as Abby and Megan, and the New York part is all true, albeit somewhat recreated for film) but the actual meeting is staged.

      If I had to guess, I would say that during the Vail section, where everything starts to unravel, they contacted Angela and explained to her that she’d been caught, they knew it was primarily fake, and we’re making a Documentary about it. Then they offered her a choice… Play along as if we’re all discovering this together, and help us spin you in a positive light, and get some money in the process, or refuse and it’ll become an “exposé”.

      I guess they agreed on a narrative together—Megan is real but Nev has never spoken to her, Angela has cancer and is “trapped” by circumstances, but is a kind, sensitive creative soul who nonetheless Nev has a genuine connection and friendship to.

      Everything that happens from that point on is set up to tell that story, but when it became apparent that the documentary was going to get a showing at sundance, they realised that this narrative didn’t make sense—it would be easy to check if Megan really existed and was in rehab—so added a few lines at the end about how Angela doesn’t have cancer and that there is no “real” Megan, without realising how that would change Angela’s character, and removing some of the dialogue which was created with that narrative in mind.

      • Carson

        Not sure if this clears anything up for you, but both Angela and the filmmakers claim that there IS a real Megan. Abby met her once, but has no interaction with her beyond that. Thus, Abby’s statements about Megan make perfect sense. This explanation is more likely than your scenarios above since it does not involve Abby having to act and it does not involve any fake sister photos or fake sister introductions to Abby orchestrated by Angela. For some strange reason I am really curious to hear from the real Megan and the fake that she remains elusive, even if she had nothing to do with the film, intrigues me.

  • Samantha

    One of my friends is on the show so ik thats not fake.

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  • Matt

    The performances by the film’s main characters didn’t feel real to me. I appreciate the author doing the research for this article, I also believe the movie was mostly staged. I think these guys saw an opportunity to use someone hungry for attention as the center of an interesting idea for a film, and they managed to pull it off pretty well. What would have made an even better movie, albeit less controversial, would be a profile of Angela and her family. They were infinitely more interesting than the yuppie Schulman brothers who irritatingly occupy the lion’s share of the film. At least they show us Angela and her family at the end, which makes the film worth sitting through.

  • Jessica

    This is silly, of course it really happened. Its extremely common. Sure, maybe some cinematic parts in the movie were embellished for production but the story is real. I think part of us truly want to believe that it can’t possibly be real to be duped but it is real. I’ve Catfished a long distance relationship before with several fake online girls just to see if the guy would take the bait, I was concerned with whether he was in other online relationships or truly just into me. Sometimes those lies start out as stupid fun but it just becomes too easy to continue with and it just gets out of hand. Part of us victim or creator will believe its real in a parallel universe. I feel awful for it but its just too easy to do. And this was before I ever saw the movie. Most fake online people have a lot of truth to them as well.

    • Ted

      A couple things:

      -Just because fake online relationships exist (true), doesn’t mean that this particular documentary is true (or at least not heavily staged).

      -If you “Catfish” someone on an online dating site, of course they are going to take the bait. Most conversations/meetings do not turn into a date, and it’s dumb to expect people to drop everything for one hypothetical person (who could be fake – case in point). That’s a great way to ensure that you (person I’m replying to or hypothetical reader) miss out on several real relationships.

      -If someone is “Catfishing”, all they have to do is not send the next reply to get out of it. Why is that so hard?

  • daniel

    Skype?

  • Russell

    I have actually been “catfished” and the lady got me good. She had other real people helping her. That said, this documentary has some red flags in terms of things being left out. I have seen some episodes of the “Catfish” television series and they have the same glaring omissions.

    When, for instance, do these people agree to be filmed and why do they sign releases? Angela for one is admitting to having phone sex with another man in a movie her husband will likely see. I’m not saying that couldn’t happen, just that such an act would seem to need an upside, like money. Angela and her family seem very real, but just how far in advance do the film makers know that they have a catfish on their hands. I agree with this writer that receiving paintings of marginal quality from an 8 year old is scant motivation to start filming a documentary. Any time invested in a dead end is time that could have been spent elsewhere…

    On the television show Nev and his partners often have overwhelming evidence that they are marching their duped subject into a painful encounter with someone who will break their heart. These people, often not even of the same gender they have portrayed themselves to be willingly go on camera and admit it all, even when they have strung a person they know along for a couple of years just to spite them.

    These guys present interesting stories, but I feel they do much more prep work behind the scenes than they let on and that their “surprise” is often feigned. They’re just too smart. I also wonder if some of their subjects, especially the catfish themselves are compensated monetarily.

    I know that many of my comments have been about the TV show and not the movie, but it speaks to mindset. I encourage anyone who wonders about this subject to catch some episodes of “Catfish” on MTV then reconsider how much of the movie may have been staged or “re-created”. I personally feel like the stories are real, but I suspect there are many off-camera conversations that smooth out the rough spots before the cameras start rolling again.

    Finally, I thought the eloquence of Vince’s final soliloquy about life needing people who keep us on our toes like a catfish in a tank full of cod was about three pay-grades above anything else that came out of his mouth… it’s a good movie and it’s good TV, but it’s reality programming with all that comes with that genre.

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