movies

"If you think you're too smart to fall for a catfish, you need to watch the film Searching."

It’s easy to think you would never be catfished.

Sure, you can understand how it could happen to someone else. How a person could be manipulated into thinking they were friends with, or even in love with, another person online who they’d never met.

But not you. You’re far too smart for that.

I thought the same. Then I watched the movie Searching and it made me think long and hard about just how vulnerable I am online. Maybe, even to a catfish.

You can watch the trailer for Searching below, post continues after video.

Video via Sony

To be clear, Searching isn’t a ‘new’ movie – the technology thriller debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2018, and hit Australian cinemas late last year. But given our current obsession with catfishing, it felt like an appropriate choice of a Sunday night movie.

Searching follows a chain of events after David Kim (played by John Cho) realises his 16-year-old daughter Margot (Michelle La) is missing when she fails to reply to his messages the day after attending a late-night study session.

As local, decorated detective (played by Debra Messing) is tasked with finding the missing teenager, David decides to search the one place we all keep our secrets – her laptop. There, he begins tracing Margot’s digital footprint and discovers he doesn’t know his daughter as well as he thought he did.

searching movie
Does what David finds on his daughter's laptop solve the case? Image: Sony.
ADVERTISEMENT

Aside from guessing who dunnit, the most interesting thing about Searching is how not once during the film's one hour and 42 minutes do you see the characters out from behind a screen. Every scene is played out through technology, from Facetime and the family's Windows home computer to Margot's Mac laptop and YouTube.

This feels a bit tedious to begin with - the movie's opening minutes set the scene and introduce the audience to each character in a montage that will remind you of an Apple or Google commercial - but as the plot twists and turns, watching it play out in the clicks of a mouse is fascinating.

It's also an eerily accurate metaphor and representation of how many of us live our lives through screens in 2019. And with most of our daily interactions with the outside world taking place online, Searching is a timely reminder that what you put up on the internet is available for everyone else to see, catfish included.

Mamamia's The Quicky spoke to the journalist who broke the devastating story of multiple women being catfished by a fake former Home and Away star to find out how the average person can be sucked into a catfish's trap. Post continues after audio.

The movie is full of Easter eggs (a.k.a clues that point to how things will end), but they're not obvious until you find them Googling the film for hours after it's finished.

Thanks to the film's near-painstakingly slow pace (I yelled "CLICK FASTER YOUR DAUGHTER IS MISSING" at the screen a number of times), you're hooked right until the very end.

After watching Searching, I went through to triple check my Facebook is indeed set on private.

Although, that didn't help Margot.

You can find Searching in the iTunes store and on Amazon Prime.

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???