Documentaries exist to show the reader an example of something in life, something that needs to be documented. Unlike other types of fictitious movies, a documentary chronicles an event or events and helps the viewer feel like they were there. They are educational, entertaining and often times historical. This documentary chronicles a budding relationship as it develops from New York to Michigan and ends with a strange turn of events.
Catfish falls under the entertaining category, although it didn't originally start that way. Yaniv Schulman is a photographer living in New York City with his brother, Ariel, and a friend, Henry. Yaniv, or Nev as he's known to his friends, has had some photographs of his published in a well-known newspaper and because of his work he receives a beautiful painting of his newspaper photo. The painting has a note attached, signed by an 8-year-old named Abby, who purports to be an aspiring artist living in rural Michigan. Nev and his friends are so floored that they begin to contact Abby and eventually become friends with her whole family on Facebook, including Abby's older sister, Megan.
Abby introduces Nev to Megan, and they seem to connect instantly. Megan is beautiful, artistic, aspires to help animals and loves dance, and seems to genuinely enjoy Nev and his long-distance companionship. They place phone calls to each other, send pictures over the Internet, chat online and learn about the life of the other one. To Nev, Megan seems perfect and he's smitten by her lovely singing voice and beauty. However, Ariel and Henry begin to question the authenticity of such a charming young woman and through a little research find that the songs Megan has been sending him are actually taken from performances on YouTube.
Nev also begins to question other claims that Megan and Abby might have made and wants to end the relationship; Henry and Ariel, however, want to see it out to the end for the sake of the documentary. All three decide Nev should continue the ruse as they travel out to Michigan to meet Megan and Abby in person, where they find out that Abby's mother, Angela, made the entire scheme up to combat her loneliness. Angela is using her daughter Abby to disguise her own artistic talent, Megan isn't real, and everything was a fantasy made to help Angela cope with the choices she made in life.