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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

cinematic roots of: ‘Catfish’

No movie springs from a vacuum. There are always influences from past examples of the genre, from the previous work of the filmmakers and stars, even from similar films that don’t quite work. If you want to understand where a movie is coming from, take a look at where it’s coming from.

In the documentary Catfish, a New York photographer falls in love with a woman he meets on the Internet, only to have his expectations about her dashed once he meets her in person in ways he never could have imagined. This flick sprang from (among other films):

You’ve Got Mail (1999), the original rom-com about online romance, in which Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan connect only via email; in person, they can’t stand each other.

Paper Heart (2009), for another documentary about romance that some suspect is all a put-on; here, Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera portray themselves and their relationship… unless it’s all invented..

The Love Letter (1999), for a charming fictional look at the profound impact a love letter can have on a romantic soul, as the long exchange of emails, IMs, and text messages has in Catfish; here, an anonymous mash note is mistakenly believed by many people in a small town to be addressed to them.

We Live in Public (2010), for another look at how the Internet is changing how we live today; this documentary explores how personal privacy is slipping away in the digital age.
Where to buy:
The Love Letter [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Paper Heart [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
We Live in Public [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
You’ve Got Mail [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]

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