Existentialism Catfish

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To Good to Be True
Staying true to yourself is an important aspect of existentialism. Although society is asked to do this many struggle to define themselves with the influence of others acting upon them. This has a major impact when it comes to trusting the online world. Authenticity plays a major role in the making of the 2010 American film Catfish.

Catfish is a memorable documentary that primarily focuses on authenticity throughout social networking sites. The protagonist is a young photographer named Nev Schulman, who lives in New York with his older brother Ariel. The film starts off when Abby, a young eight-year-old painter from Michigan, notices one of Nev’s photographs in the New York Sun and instantly falls in love with both him and his artwork. She begins drawing his photographs and shipping each one off to him. Not before long a strong bond between the two of them are formed. They become facebook friends which widens all of her family and friends to the viewing of Nev. With just one click of a button Nev enters the online identity of Meghan, Abby’s eye-catching half sister. Although he hadn’t met her before he was head over heels for her, almost positive that she’d be the one that he’d marry. Nev and her start conversing over facebook and a romantic relationship is formed. This girl blinded Nev, she was just so perfect, they talked almost every hour of everyday whether it was through facebook or by phone, but this all changed when an unexpecting twist occurred. Meghan had sent Nev a few cover songs that she had recently sung. He was blown away, this girl was everything he could’ve imagined, come to find out though she had been lying to him the whole time. When he searched the song, comparing it to the original one, the voices couldn’t have been anymore similar, the two covers matched up exactly. He felt like he had been stabbed in the back, all of the feeling he had for her poured out, he was devastated. Although he wanted to give up Ariel pushed him to go on with the documentary and play along with Meghan like nothing was ever wrong. Wanting Meghan to come clean about her identity Nev and his crew travelled to Michigan with a surprise visit to Abby’s house. Angela, Abby’s mom answered the door, and brought Nev to a friend’s beach house where Abby was said to be. There Nev obtained valuable information out of both Abby and Abby’s friend that would help break this enigma. Come to find out that Abby doesn’t even paint, Abby’s mother does, and that Abby never sees her sister Meghan, in fact she hasn’t seen her in years. By the end of the visit Nev finally shakes the real truth out of Angela. It turns out that Angela had 15 fake facebook accounts, it was a “facebook family” that were all connected to her “daughter’s” account in which she had been using the entire time. The odd thing about all of this though was that Angela wasn’t single, infact she was far from it; she had a husband that loved her dearly, two mentally disabled stepsons at home as well as her daughter Abby. With this chaotic life at home the only way Angela could define herself was through this act of being inauthentic, so that she could make up for the things that she never had or was unable to do like dance.

During the documentary Angela struggles to balance staying true to herself while attending for her family and as a result gives up who she is altogether. The only way she felt like she could define herself was by being inauthentic, being someone else for a change that could do all of the things that she couldn’t, or was unable to do for various reasons, it was someone she wanted to be. Angela conveys her reasoning for Meghan’s individuality when she says, “a lot of the personalities […] were just fragments of myself, fragments of things that I used to be, wanted to be, never could be” (Ariel Schulman & Henry Joost, 2010). Everything that Angela ever wanted was created to form Meghan, a beautiful women whom loved animals,...
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