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Catfish [2010] [PG-13] - 4.2.4



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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Ostensibly a documentary about a young New York photographer (Nev Schulman), who develops an online relationship with a family in rural Michigan -- first with a talented 8-year-old girl who reproduces his photos as paintings and then with her 19-year-old half-sister. However, the circumstances may not be as they seem. Also with Megan Faccio and Melody C. Roscher. Directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman. [1:34]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A shirtless young man lying in bed reads aloud a series of provocative text messages between himself and a young woman: the messages detail how they had thought of one another in the shower, their mutual anticipation of initiating a sexual relationship, bathing together, kissing, and having sex; a remark describes the conversation as a "cheap porn book." A young man reads emails from a young woman aloud, stating, "You are so sexy" and explaining that a young woman feels "an intense physical connection" between herself and the young man. We see text messages exchanged between a young man and a young woman stating that they will dream of the other person. A young woman tells a young man how attractive his bare chest is in a photograph and how she would not be able to keep her hands off him.
 A shirtless young man, seen lying in bed, is asked by an unseen man if he would take a young woman's virginity or simply "kiss her and send her home." The bare chest and back of a young man are seen after he climbs out of bed. Two young men are seen shirtless on two different occasions. Three young men are seen shirtless as they swim in a lake.
 A young man looks at digital photographs of a young woman posing with another young woman's hands on her behind. A young man manipulates a digital photograph of a young woman (her bare back is visible), and superimposes it next to a photograph of himself (his bare chest is visible). We see multiple digital photographs on a young man's computer of a young woman who is implied to be topless (nudity is covered by a guitar). A digital photograph of a shirtless man is seen on a computer screen.
 A young man and a woman hug; the woman holds onto the young man after they hug and the young man pulls away. A young man puts his hand down the waistband of his pants (in a non-sexual way).

VIOLENCE/GORE 2 - A mentally handicapped young man is seen strapped into a wheelchair: he grunts loudly and slaps himself in the face as a woman explains to another young man that she is adding drugs to calm him (we see the woman injecting a syringe into his feeding tube bladder). The shouts and grunts of a mentally handicapped young man are heard and a woman says she does not know why the young man is upset.
 We see text on the screen explaining that a young man had died (there's no explanation as to why or how). A young man reads an email aloud from a girl stating that her snake had died after being sick and that she found it dead in the cage. A young man reads an email aloud from a girl stating that another man needs to wear his "brain bucket" when he is skateboarding. A woman jokingly tells a young man that a mentally handicapped young man will "bludgeon her to death" with a soup pot. A woman tells a young man that she is starting chemotherapy for treatment of uterine cancer (we later discover this is not true and that the woman is healthy).

PROFANITY 4 - 1 inferred F-word ("eff off"), 3 sexual references, 5 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 2 mild obscenities, name-calling (psychopaths, weirdo, liar, gullible), 7 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man discusses how he has been told via email and text that a young woman and a teenage boy are being checked into rehab and he comments that he did not know they had a drinking problem, a woman tells a man that a young woman is in rehab, and photographs of a young woman holding various alcoholic drinks are seen.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Online personas, cyber-reality vs. reality, Facebook, documentaries, dishonesty, discovering you have been misled, online/virtual relationships, sexting, uterine cancer, alcoholism, going to rehab, Photoshopping photographs, severe mental handicaps, responsibilities of the caretakers of mentally handicapped people, painting.

MESSAGE - Be careful when you develop and online relationship.

Special Keywords: S4 - V2 - P4 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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