Could I please have some feedback on my 'Catch me if you can essay'?

Here is the question I chose:

Describe an important relationship in the text.
Explain how this relationship helped you understand a character or individual.

The bond between loved ones often reveals the truth in how a person feels. Steven Speilberg’s film, ‘Catch me if you can’, shows great depth through the relationship between Frank and his mother Paula. In fact, the relationship actually proved both Paula and Franks’ personality to be much more than what it appeared on the surface. With that, their connection displayed Frank’s very selfless persona yet also displayed Paula’s very selfish persona. Their relationship also demonstrated how Paula held a lot of trust in people, despite not being a very trustworthy person herself.

During earlier moments within the film, Frank is shown sat across from his mother in the passenger seat, while urging her to quit smoking. An over the shoulder shot is used in the scene, displaying Paula’s shoulder in the screen, whilst focusing toward both expression and conversation on Frank’s behalf. This technique indicated that the pair are involved within a very intense discussion, in which Frank is mostly dictating as it is his woeful facials purposefully shown, to indicate his disappointment. The director intended for it to be Paula’s back exhibited on screen, to have the audience feel the sense of betrayal Frank is feeling, as Paula is turning her physique away from those viewing, just as she quite literally turned her back on Frank. This allows us to gain a sense of sympathy for him during this scene. The camera shot is also able to further highlight Frank’s expression and reaction to Paula smoking, as the entirety of his head is shown, with no other faces on screen, in order to only focus upon the emotion Frank is experiencing, without any distraction. Through displaying Frank’s feelings of despair towards his mother smoking, it proves him to behold a very thoughtful and also quite compassionate personality, considering he cares so deeply about Paula, a woman who rarely offers the same treatment in return. For Paula to actually first ignore her son’s desire, be disloyal to her very own husband and later leave without thought, this displays those attributes of her blatant disregard for Frank altogether. Taking this into account really emphasizes this considerate approach of Frank’s, for he is displaying how much he cares, whilst gaining so little from this. This also determines how he is both extremely patient and selfless, for he spends so much time tolerating every small mistake Paula makes, even if it means damaging himself and his own feelings whilst doing so. It is human nature for us to latch on to the people who are bad for us because we feel obliged to, especially when it comes to family. This relationship between Frank and Paula, where Frank is constantly wanting the best for her, actually displayed his willingness to help the people who won’t necessarily be there for him.

By Paula moving on with her life and forgetting about Frank, it shows she is quite a thoughtless and selfish person. Paula and Frank are shown together during a Christmas scene near the end of the film; yet Paula is unaware of Frank’s presence as he stares through the window, longing to be with his mum one last time. Practical lighting from lamps and candles are used inside the house, to form this warm and radiant atmosphere within the walls, whilst only Frank’s face is illuminated with light, the rest of his physique is covered in shadow as he stands alone outside. This contrast is used in order to highlight that Paula has been given this happy ending, where she looks cheerful and bright under the toasty lighting, yet Frank, most of his body within darkness, is cold and alone. The director intentionally cast light upon his face, for he is now aware of the full truth; his mother has moved on. This is designed to capture the audience’s sympathy for we can see the expression of his face and nothing else, whilst we can imagine ourselves in a similar position and correlate this to our own lives altogether. He is distraught by the discovery, the light indicating he knows everything he needs to know about his mother. This proves how Paula is in fact a selfish woman, through neglecting her son and completely forgetting about his existence, even on Christmas day. Through showing how Frank just wants to be near his mother and displaying that Paula is absolutely naive to this and rather disregarding towards her son in a sense, it indicates that she is not willing to put any effort into their relationship anymore. This alone is extremely uncaring and quite self-centred considering she is practically looking after herself over that of her own blood. Mothers are supposed to love their children like no other person can. They watch them grow up and teach them the basic fundamentals of life. However some children are deprived of their mothers unconditional love, often due to death, thus in Paula and Frank being lucky enough to have each other, it is blatant negligence to not take the opportunity to check up on him.

A scene in which highlighted how Frank and Paula’s relationship actually revealed Paula’s character, was when the FBI pays a visit to her house and she eventually makes the realisation that her perfect little boy may not have been quite as perfect as she thought, indicating she originally held a lot of trust within Frank. An eye level angle is used, showing Paula and the FBI in conversation, the FBI on one side, while Paula stands alone on the other side. The intent behind this angle is to give a very familiar perspective to the viewer, in which they can likely relate to and recognize with their own challenging discussions. The eye level angle is able to show all characters within the scene to display how, while Paula is surrounded by these relatively high-class individuals, she has such faith in her son, allowing her to stay strong to her opinion, despite being faced by these men. The director used this to have people think about themselves in this situation, so the eye level angle was necessary in assuring that the scene wasn’t over-dramatized to maintain that day to day correlation with viewers. Through Paula having immediately suggested her son would not have committed such a crime, it verifies that she still sees her boy as a young and naive angel, thus, she has a lot of confidence in him. There is actually irony in this, because Paula was unable to even stay loyal to her husband, someone who was supposed to trust her the most. Yet, in Paula being well aware of how easy it is to breach trust, she still manages to hold onto that sense of assurance in her son, revealing that Paula is slightly gullible in a way. Mothers often feel that their children are the most important thing in the world, so it is common for them to be blinded by the truth so easily. In this scene the director wanted to show parents in particular, what their children may be capable of, and that perhaps they shouldn’t be so easily persuaded. Frank and his mothers relationship displayed how Paula feels her son is honest, no matter the situation.

Overall, the relationship between Frank and Paula Abagnale signified many elements and traits in each of their characters, the good and the bad. With that, through Frank wishing for Paula to quit smoking, it demonstrated how he was an understanding and selfless person. While Paula on the other hand, was more so selfish and neglectful, through having cut Frank out of her life altogether and starting a family of her own. Despite this, in immediately showing confidence in her son when the FBI showed up, it proved to Paula to bear a lot of trust in her son nevertheless. This connection showed each of them how they actually felt about one another.

Kiā ora Mackenzie
What a glorious introduction! You set it up really well, both parts of the question and some insightful thoughts.
You choose some good evidence, mention the techniques and link them with the purpose of the Director in an integrated way.
A great essay and a great read!

Thanks very much, what grade do you think this would be sitting at?

Morena Mackenzie.
It is a clear E - has the perceptive response, shows insight, presents a case, provides good evidence and is a fluent and coherent whole.