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Catfish Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Newsflash: The Internet is full of liars. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    In Catfish, the camera's-rolling readiness to trawl for drama leaves a slimy aftertaste.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    Jaw-dropping and surprisingly kind-hearted considering the circumstances.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The facts in the film are slippery, but the revelation of a human personality is surprisingly moving.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Catfish is fascinating. At the same time, it emits a condescending, pitying odor.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    To avoid revealing too much and spoiling a fresh and intriguing experience, let's just say this: Catch Catfish.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Online life docu reels viewers in with suspense, humanity.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this documentary chronicles the friendships that develop between an 8-year-old painter and her Michigan family and the New York City photographer they befriend online. The movie delves into many of the issues intrinsic in Web communities like Facebook: the personas that people present (and how accurate -- or not -- they are), how relationships develop quickly, and how those friendships don't always have the same safety nets that real-life associations do. All of these issues are exceptionally relevant for today's parents and teens, so we recommend watching it together. Anticipate a little swearing, a few steamy text messages (read aloud), and some twists that may prove too heavy for tweens and younger.

  • Families can talk about online personas. Do they completely capture a person’s character? How can you tell what's true about who a person says they area online?
  • Are relationships forged online as authentic and full-textured as those formed in real life?
  • What about the idea of online privacy? How much do you share? How much do you keep private? Parents, talk to your kids about staying safe online.

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The movie sends the very important message for teens that you see online may not be what you get ... and that connections that can initially seem strong may not be after all, especially when they’re cultivated in the greenhouse known as the Internet. Basically, the movie asks the question: Who are you on the Web? And who are the people you talk to there, really?

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The people who behave badly in the movie end up sympathetic and, in an odd way, noble, given their circumstances. And viewers see that it’s human to make mistakes and honorable to own up to them.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: Some menacing, creepy moments, but nothing violent actually happens.

  • sex false2

    Sex: One of the lead subjects reads some steamy text messages aloud.

  • language false2

    Language: Infrequent use of "s--t," “crap,” “pissy," and "oh my God."

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: The Apple logo is often visible on the laptop the filmmakers are using; the logo for Ray-Ban is also often seen. The iPhone makes frequent appearances. Many scenes show the characters visiting social networking sites like YouTube and especially Facebook. JCPenney is mentioned.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some discussion of a subject being an alcoholic and checking into rehab.