Can I please have some feedback on my CMIYC Essay?


Question chosen: Describe an incident that changes the course of events in the text.
Explain how this change was important to the text as a whole.

A change of heart can change everything. Steven Spielberg’s 2002 crime/drama film ‘Catch me if you can’ is the ideal illustration of how one’s own desire to be stable is the true antagonist of normal daily life.An incident that encapsulates this is exemplified through the character Paula’s actions. Her dictation to divorcing the main character Frank Junior’s father, Frank Senior, sets the sail of how one incident can inevitably change the course of events in one’s life for the worse and for the better. Exploring the direct effect after the divorce and the significance it has, which closely resembles the first stage of grief: shock and denial. To the way the incident manifests itself to hinder everyday decisions as portrayed through Frank Jr’s actions: transitioning to the stage of anger and bargaining. And finally how in the end through acceptance, how the incident is seen as a positive for Frank as opposed to the negative it originally appears to be.

In the film Catch me if you can, the incident can already be predicted early on. As shown, the reasoning for Paula leaving the Abagnales was made apparent to the audience once it was shown that the family could no longer support itself financially. Grasping for stability, Paula’s decision to divorce Frank Senior was foreshadowed through the secret ‘affair’ she was having with more well off club member Jack Barnes. The significance of this was that through it all Frank Junior was present. The audience is encouraged to feel the displeasure and uncertainty he harbors for his family as the following day Frank is greeted with yet another man who is quickly presumed to be another person Paula is having an affair with. Through the initial announcement of the divorce, the climactic dread both the audience and Frank feel would have been nonetheless expected. The use of practical lighting to hide both Frank’s emotions and Paula’s motives through the outlook of having only half of their facial features in the light and half in the dark simultaneously would secure the unpredictable outcome both prime characters would have hidden from each other in that moment and in the future. It is this key scene that ignites the shock and denial Frank starts to feel towards himself and the now ‘imperfect’ family he has become astray from. Although it was rather an over reaction, the viewer is able to comprehend and pinpoint how this incident soon becomes the bane of Frank’s reckless actions, and how it affects his thought process later on. This cannot be helped with the additional fact that as a sixteen year old, the premature thought that acquiring a well off financial status would be the key to bringing his family back together.You can’t change everything in one night but one night can change everything. This further demonstrates how one decision can change the lives of people around us. It is the way we deal with big change in particular that tests our true character.

Throughout the film, the unresolved incident can be seen manifesting itself as portrayed through Frank’s downward spiral. To the audience it is physically exemplified in the brilliance and finesse Frank showcases through the attention to detail he shows when creating fake cheques and believable identities. Deep down it is through this facade that the audience can’t help but know that what he is doing or committing in this case, is morally incorrect. It is through his wrong doings that the audience builds a form of empathy towards his personal goal in rebuilding a better world for his ‘imperfect’ family. Once again reinstating the idea as to how change can affect one’s life no matter how big or small. The audience fully sees how much the divorce has taken a toll on Frank’s life through the bar scene with his father. It is through the changing of music as Frank and his father enter a secluded area to have a conversation and the lackluster use of light thereof on Frank Senior specifically that describes the one sided situation that harmonically entails that there is clearly something missing in the bigger picture for his son. Through the phrase ‘your mother is married now to my friend Jack Barnes’ Frank Junior’s initial reaction is mildly nostalgic of that when he first found out about his parent’s divorce. Both situations end up with Frank running away from the truth he longs to unhear.The significance of this scene is how simple words can be used to affect others. Every plan and every inch of hope that Frank had mustered in hopes of rebuilding his ‘fixable’ family was now gone. An additional and equally important phrase in this scene is by Frank Junior’s retaliation to his fathers words ‘I’m gonna stop now’ metaphorically speaking on trying to bring his family back together hence this being the last time he sees his father in the film. The third stage of grief: Anger and bargaining have heightened the emotions Frank feels up until his retribution. Anger towards himself for not being able to fix his parent’s problems through money which as stated before was his original plan, and anger towards both of his parents for not trying to help themselves by repatching the agony he feels for himself. Bargaining is also seen affecting Frank as he starts to imagine a better life without his parents by forming his own with his fiance Brenda. The significance of this is how Frank must learn and how the audience can learn that no matter how much we change ourselves one step at a time, one stumble can send us back to the bottom. It is the determination to not let change defy you that allows you to try again.

Frank’s retribution at the end of the film is what inevitably saves himself from his own downward spiral.
Through time, the stage of acceptance helps both the audience and Frank comprehend that what he had can never go back to how it initially was, which is the true testimony to Frank’s maturity throughout the end of the film. Maturely enough he serves a third of his sentence and soon the audience starts to forget how Frank’s situation even started in the first place. As he accepts the new job to help catch other con artists offered to him by the F.B.I he no longer sees fit to try and fix the past. This just goes to show that time can heal what change cannot. As stated before it is how we deal with big change in particular that tests our true character. An example of this is the unexpected return of Frank in the end of the film to continue working for the FBI. As he returns, the audience neutralizes all the hurt and pain that Frank went through from his parent’s divorce and his wrong doings. In the end of the film the use of the phrase ‘ Mind if I take a look’ Frank finalizes the idea himself that he is serious about moving on from the past. As the camera zooms out to conclude the film the audience can’t help but feel a euphoric sense of resilience that leaves the feeling that Frank’s story was destined to be a happy ending. Frank’s parent’s divorce inevitably changed his life for the better as illustrated through the end of the film. The significance being that if it were not for Paula’s decision to leave the family for her own selfish and rather reckless reasons, the family would have ended up being stuck in a dead end situation. Alongside this, through the sudden news that Paula had ended up getting married to Jack Barnes whom she was having an affair with as originally mentioned, Frank’s situation would have also been significantly stuck in the past once again mentioning the idea of him trying to bring his family back together. It is through this news that we begin to see his departure from his one goal change to one that is more self focused: Building a better life for himself through the means of raising his financial status. Considering Frank’s character from the beginning of the film to the end, the viewer sees the difference in the way he deals with change from the way his parent’s divorce was what defined his identity as a functioning member of society transitioning to the way he uses his parent’s divorce as a leverage in being a better person in the future.

In conclusion, a change of heart can change everything. It can make or break families as exemplified by the Abagnales. Paula’s change of heart is what inevitably lit the match, causing the events of Catch me if you can to come into action. Frank’s overall growth from his mother’s selfish decisions is what inevitably makes him a better and more mature person by the end of Catch me if you can 's events. From the way his personal motives were to bring his family back together to how it transitioned into bringing his own self back together.
Acceptance of change and the coming thereof is a lesson the viewer can learn from the selfishness people commit on a daily basis. Whether it be through a divorce, the never ending expectation of change whether big or small is a stepping stone in overcoming one’s own change of heart.

Kia ora - welcome to Studyit!

What a fantastic essay- this is written in an engaging and sophisticated way, especially for a Level One essay! You have woven in evidence, show a clear understanding of how this aspect affected the course of the film as a whole.

One piece of feedback -You have a really strong discussion of how the viewer relates to and reacts to the film - I would advise where you can, to include the director a little more in your discussion it is certainly implied, but a sprinkling of using the director’s name or “the director” would make your understanding of purpose and deliberate craft much more explicit. For example " Spielberg uses" or “the director here presents us with the idea of…”

Well done :slight_smile: