Catch Me if You Can Essay
Describe an incident that changes the course of events in the text
Explain how this was important to the text as a whole
Catch Me If You Can is a semi autobiographical movie about Frank Abagnale Jr and his exploits as a con artist in 1963. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr, Tom Hanks as the FBI agent tasked with catching Frank Carl Hanratty and is directed by Stephen Spielberg. Catch Me if You Can covers many ideas and topics and the incident of Frank’s family losing all their wealth to the IRS deals with themes of action vs consequence, the effect of broken homes on kids and appearance vs reality. This is skillfully shown through the use of film techniques such as camera shots, lighting, and dialogue in order to show these themes and convey the emotions of each character through each of the events in the text. I think that the purpose and message behind Catch Me If You Can is to both open our eyes about the effects that broken homes can have on the kids born of them in the long term as well as educating us on the events of Frank Abagnale Jr’s life.
The event of Frank’s Family losing their first home and their wealth to the IRS can be seen as the inciting incident for the rest of the events in the movie. This event is what triggered the divorce between Frank’s parents which in turn pushed hi m towards the life of forgery that Catch Me If You Can covers. This is highlighted through the dialogue between Frank and his father when they meet at a bar and Frank says “Listen, I’m getting a brand new Cadillac. I’m getting a 60,000 dollar house. I’m getting it all back. All the jewelry, all the furs, everything they took from us I’m going to get it back”. This shows that Frank has been doing everything he has been doing in order to restore his old life with his happy family which he thinks he can do if he gets back all of the old material items that they used to have when everything was going perfectly. This is important to the text because without this event the entire story would not have happened as there would be no reason for Frank to turn to the life of crime that he did because of all the events that this incident triggered. Without this event Frank would have lived a happy life without ever having to try to get everything that was taken from them back as nothing would’ve been taken from them in the first place.
The theme of how broken homes can affect kids is shown through the events that were triggered from this event as Frank’s parents would not have got a divorce and Frank would not have pursued his life of crime after running away due to the divorce and trying everything he can to get his previous life back. This is shown through the close up of Frank’s face after he sees his mother living the life he always wanted with the dream perfect family as he is stuck outside in the cold unable to attain that life after trying all his life to get it all back. This shows how upset Frank is after figuring out that his old life is permanently out of his reach. This is inferred through Frank promptly giving himself up to the police after realizing that there was no longer a point as he could no longer get his old dream family back. I believe Stephen Speilburg used this movie to convey a message about broken homes and how they affect the kids and in extreme cases the kids can end up the same as Frank either turning to crime or trying their best to change the situation that was forced upon them as a kid
The theme of action vrs consequence is shown in this scene as the action of Frank’s father attempting to scam the Government in relation to his shop and the consequence being the loss of his home, his wealth and ultimately his family. This is represented through the lighting in multiple scenes in Catch Me if You Can. As when they are all together perfectly in their first fancy home the rooms and scenes are all well lit promoting feelings of happiness and it is filled with the laughter and happiness of Frank and his family. As opposed to the small apartment that they are forced to change over to as it is dimly lit promoting the feelings of sadness and disappointment as the happiness of Frank’s family is gone instead replaced with Frank’s mother running out of the room crying. This is important to the story because it is part of the reason that Frank’s parents ended up splitting which in turn caused all of the crimes that Frank carries out later in the story if his family had just adjusted well to their new environment and not been as upset and not ended up in a divorce Frank would not have been forced to turn to crime as a method of getting his old family back and would have never became so involved in fraud. I believe that Stephen Speilburg is trying to show us how making bad choices such as breaking the law leads to nothing but sadness and ruin for those who are involved in it.
The event of Frank’s father losing his house and all of his wealth to the IRS is essential to the story as it is one of the inciting events for Frank’s reason to turn to crime and end up leading the life that he did. If it was not for this event there would not have been a divorce between his parents and his family would have continued living its life as happy and healthy as ever. This can be related to many people’s situations world wide as their families have been through something similar that causes them to lose everything and begin to tear apart at the seams. I personally have been through something similar when i was young obviously for different reasons luckily i was too young to comprehend it the same way as Frank otherwise it may have had a similar effect on me as a person. I believe that was the message behind Catch Me If You Can that the situation a child is raised in and has to deal with has a large impact on them personally and the way that they will lead their life in the future.