This weekend I rented a movie from my supermarket kiosk, love those things.... called Catfish, I had no clue what it was about but read the little brief synopsis on the screen that said something about two filmakers who make this documentary surrounding the brother of one of them. It involved romance and intrigue in the online world. So I took the bait and rented it. Two of my girls and I sat and watched it and at first they weren't to involved, since it was a documentary. One third of the way through the movie we became entranced in the online Facebook relationship between Nev and Megan, the people the filmakers are documenting. The filmakers are Ariel Schulman, Nev's brother and and Henry Joost their friend. As the story unfolds we see how Megan/Angela has lied her way through this whole online relationship she develops with Nev, who has fallen in love with someone he has never met. Nev finds some inconsistencies in some of Megan's postings and decides that he will make a surprise visit to her home in Michigan.
He finds that an intricate web of lies was spun by an ordinary plainjain wife, mother and stepmom to two disabled sons. Angela, as we meet her seems like the proverbial kid caught in the midst of a lie and I was mad at her for a very brief moment. Then I saw the fragility of the human soul as I sat and watched as Nev confronted her about the "truth". That their was no Abby the child prodigy painter she claimed was her daughter, rather there was an Abby who was just a typical eight year old. There was no Megan who Angela claimed was her daughter, that she in fact was the sole person pretending to be all of these other people.... why? I surmise that Angela's life had become predictable and drained her of all of the Angela she once was, she painted the pictures that had been sent to Nev, she danced when she was a young woman, something 'Megan', Nevs love interest did. Angela had lost herself, something that I believe all woman who are mothers, wives, daughters, lovers, and others, do.Angela had taken random photos of people she knew and did not know and created this world of hers. She had built a world that she controlled and one she could take comfort in at the click of a mouse.
We get so caught up in taking care of everyone else we become in Angela's words "remnants" of ourselves, she used that analogy to explain to Nev how she was able to make up all of the characters, she said they were remnants of who she once was. Thats when it hit me! That is a powerful way to describe the diminishing that happens to a woman when she gives too much to others and neglects herself. I felt sad for Angela, and sad for Nev who really wanted to believe that Megan existed.
When Angela spoke to Nev, you could see that she had fallen in love with him as 'Megan'. In the end you have mixed emotions about Angela, who has a host of real friends on Facebook now, and you really hope Nev is not jaded by the lies of this web and still believes in true love.
What is it in the human makeup that would prompt one to lie? I, as a former child liar, know that it is purely the need for acceptance. We all want it, we all crave it, we all flourish under it. But as a reformed child liar I realize, it doesn't matter if I took dance lessons, or if I have ever traveled to some exotic place, or eaten some exotic food, or if my parents could afford to buy me whatever it was I thought I wanted. True acceptance had to come from within, I had to learn to love myself enough to realize what I had was enough for people to like me.