Thursday, October 21, 2010

電影【貓/鯰魚】: 疑幻疑真的網絡女友 ∕ "Catfish" the Movie: Is your girlfriend real or a manufactured persona?

Since abt 2 years ago, I have been watching an average of four to five movies a month, mostly on Tuesday nights when admission is half the regular price. Added to that list are the numerous re-runs I watch while flying across the Americas or the Pond. Many of these movies are so mundane that my mind will draw a blank if you want me to tell you right-a-way the stories in any great details.

However, I caught a big one called "Catfish" on Oct 12, 2010 at the Empire 7 Cinema downtown and would recommend it to anyone who is active or interested in social networking. The movie is abt a woman whom our protagonist met on-line. (spoiler alert from hereon !!)

At first, our young man was falling head-over-toes for this gorgeous looking singer/song-writer. Before long, they were exchanging intimate photos and texting each other some rather tenderizing messages. But then our Romeo started to suspect something was amissed when the music she played resembled some of the songs posted by somebody else on YouTube. As well, he could only talk separately to the woman and her "mother", but never both at the same time. Suspicion and curiosity started to creep in.

The young man was egged on by his brother and film-making buddy to investigate by paying a surprise visit to the girlfriend of his dream. Based on the snail-mail address, they drove all the way to the little town where his girlfriend lived, turned on the hidden camera, rang the bell, and the "mother" answered the door. She said her daughter was out. They also found out there were other family members living in the household, and of course, their identities and relationships to the (unavailable) girlfriend were all not exactly as advertised.

But as the manufactured identity of his girlfriend began to unravel, and real tears started to roll down the older woman's face, the audiences couldn't help but felt sympathetic toward the accused cheater, especially when she said something like: "... what I have now in real life is only a fragment of what I want ... and she (the gorgeous looking Facebook persona) is someone I could never be ... "

Now, don't you wish, at some point in your life, that things could have turned out better (secret crush on the boy/girl next door, school exams, relationships, careers, lotteries, ...). So what's wrong with posting and assuming the identity of a better "you" on-line and playing out your fantasy, even if it means "cheating", a concept that is not uncommon in virtual reality games?

But, wait a minute here. Are we, as rule-abiding netizens, going to let this Facebook "cheater" get off that easily, even when we have found out that she, in her real middle-age life, has broken no laws, is apologetic to our young man, is a real artist of sort (a painter but not musician), is taking care of two extremely handicapped young adults who are sons of her live-in partner (one would eventually die), and is crying with real tears? And what does the film title "Catfish" have anything to do with all these anyway?

Well, I guess you will just have to go watch the movie to find out the truth for yourself!!!

* Wikipedia: "Catfish" the movie
* YouTube: "Catfish the movie/film - Official trailer"
* IMDB: Please note that some movie reviewers are saying: ... "Catfish" is not a documentary. The movie studio (Rogue Pictures) that is releasing "Catfish" is calling the movie a "reality thriller" ...

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