“Catfish”

Nev’s film “Catfish” filmed by his brothers is basically about how Nev creates an online relationship with 8 year old Abby and her family, especially with her older half sister Megan. The friendship first begins between Abby and Nev. Abby as a child has very artistic skills. Abby sends Nev a painting of one of his photos all the way from Michigan to New York City. They became Facebook friends and later on Abby’s mom Angela and her sister Megan joins the friendship. Nev finds Megan to be very attractive, so they eventually start a romantic relationship online. Megan sends him songs saying its her own but Nev discovers that they are all from youtube. Later he also finds out that Angela and Abby were lying about Abby’s art. After all that, Nev and his brothers feel suspicious about Abby’s family so they decide to travel to Abby’s house in Michigan. First they visit the place where Megan said she lives at, but they find out she doesn’t live there, then they went to Abby’s house. Angela answers the door and seems happy to finally meet Nev. She tells him that she begun chemotherapy for uterine cancer. Nev meets Abby and talks to her about her paintings and her sister. Abby tells Nev that she doesn’t paint and that she doesn’t talk to her sister or know where she lives, she doesn’t even know how she looks. After meeting the family, Angela tells Nev that the pictures of Megan was a family friend, and her daughter Megan is in rehab. She also tells him that the paintings she sent him are all painted by her and not by Abby. Angela confesses that she was running all those Facebook profiles herself. By then, Nev realizes that it was Angela who was pretending to be Megan throughout their relationship. Nev talks to Angela’s husband Vince (who has two mentally disabled sons), Vince tells Nev that Angela lied about her relationship between Nev. Later Nev finds out that Angela didn’t have cancer, there was no Megan, and she doesn’t know the girl in the pictures, it was just a professional model. Angela deactivated all other 15 profiles and changed her Facebook profile to a picture of herself. Nev and Angela are still friends on Facebook. Angela was hiding the truth from Nev about herself and her family.

Angela curates the exhibition of the self (Marche 9) with her own profile as well as the other profiles she created. She did that by organizing and setting up everything the way she wanted. She made herself look younger and better online and on her painting. This is similar to what Sherry Turlke said in “The Flight From Conversation,” she stated that “texting and e-mail and posting let us present the self we want to be.” There was no authenticity at the beginning of the film, but the truth was revealed at the end. Nev trusted the family because their relationship and the way Angela set everything up seemed very real and trustworthy. which included, texting, messaging, phone calls etc. Nev had feelings for someone fake because at first he didn’t know she was fake. Angela lies online and when she is face- to- face with Nev about her cancer and Megan.

As Turkle said, “technology changes who we are and what we do” that’s exactly what happened to Angela and there was no authenticity in it. Angela takes other people’s photos from online and uses them, she didn’t think about their privacy or ownership because she was so eager to present the self she wanted to be. Nev’s visit displays the “mess of human interaction.”(Marche 8) I think Angela did all this because of loneliness. Vince’s story about the “vat full of codfish” means that there are things in life that keeps us active, he compares Angela with the  catfish.

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