On the surface, it appears that this is a documentary (although you’re never quite sure) made by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost about Nev who is Ariel’s brother. Nev is a photographer in New York and they all share a studio. One day they begin filming Nev because he starts to receive paintings through the post by a girl (aged 7) called Abby . The first painting is a copy of one of Nev’s own photographs recently published in The New York Times. Slightly odd but big deal you might say, and the first half of the film is fairly pedestrian. It follows as Nev and Abby’s relationship develops online through Facebook and then as this relationship spreads to the rest of Abby’s family and in particular her older sister Megan. Nev and Megan start a sort of online romance and to tell more would spoil it.
What follows is a clever, thought provoking and multilayered film which questions where on earth society is going. With so much of life lived on line what is real? I have 732 ‘friends’ on Facebook. Don’t be so bloody ridiculous! In real life I have about 5 friends so who are all the rest? The filmakers are walking a constant tightrope between getting their point across and taking advantage of some very vulnerable people and the success of this film is that they just manage to strike the right balance. More insightful than The Social Network which unfortunately was released around the same time and has eclipsed this little gem. Whether you love or hate all this Facebook/Twitter stuff this film will speak to you and quite cleverly leave you wondering whether the film itself is ‘real’.