Saturday, May 3, 2014

Analyzing Catch Me If You Can

The movie, Catch Me If You Can is about a young sixteen year old boy named Frank Abegnale Jr. who runs away from home after his parents get divorced. He learns to forge checks, and impersonates an airline pilot, doctor, and lawyer to survive. What’s most notable throughout this movie is its use of music to convey Frank’s thought process and emotion. The character’s need to runaway and commit fraud to live the “ideal life” stems from his parents’ divorce in which his family lost everything. At one point in the movie, he tells his father, “Dad, I’m getting married in two weeks- I’m buying a sixty thousand dollar house, a new Cadillac. I’m getting it all back, everything they took from us. I want you and Mom to come to the wedding together.” The movie makes use of old Sinatra songs to convey his inner wishes. In the earlier scenes when his mother and father were still together, they would dance in the living room to the song, “Embraceable You”. Unfortunately, Frank, who is holding their red wine, spills some on the carpet. This spilling of the red wine foreshadows the darkening of his parents’ relationship. The color red, symbolizes the frustration, aggression, and criminal activity that would follow suit. As Frank gets ready to marry a nice Southern girl named Brenda, he is invited over to her house for dinner. And he watches in the shadows, peeking into the kitchen as Brenda’s parents wash the dishes together. They seem happy and very much in love. The same song that his parents danced to in the earlier scene plays, making the song “Embraceable You” sound bitter sweet this time around because of the way this scene parallels Frank’s past. Frank stands in the shadows because he knows that he can never be a part of that happy family. Standing in the glowing light of the kitchen, Brenda’s parents emanate warmth. They represent his inner desire for his parents to get back together again. The shadow that Frank is standing in, however, represents the reality. No matter how many times he changes his identity, runs away, or forges checks, he will always be just a sixteen year old kid with divorced parents. The shadow is also the looming possibility that he’ll get caught. Whenever the FBI are around, Frank is always seen hiding in the shadows: behind a curtain, behind a door, right around the corner… he’s always just one step away from being found out. Deep inside, Frank knows that he needs to stop. He even begs his own father, Frank Abegnale Sr. to tell him to stop, but it’s clear that he has come to far. Frank Abegnale Jr. is a boy that’s stuck in the in-between. He can’t live in the warm light of the American Dream because everything about himself is fake and made-up, but he’s not quite swallowed up in the darkness either. He’s a boy who has thrown his childhood away for a chance to chase the life he could have had, living in the shadows to avoid the consequences. In that sense, Frank is kind of tragic character, not quite fitting in anywhere.

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