A movie I saw THREE times in high school but only saw the ending once before renting it. Released in 2002 this Steven Spielberg directed crime biographical film is one of my favorites; guess I’m a sucker for true crime stories. If you haven’t seen this movie spoiler alert. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.
Before he turned 19 years old Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) conned millions of dollars (in check fraud mostly) posing as three different jobs: Pans American pilot, doctor and lawyer. How did he do it? Going back to 1963 Frank and his parents Frank Abagnale Sr. (Christopher Walken nominated for an Oscar for this role) and Paula Abagnale (Nathalie Baye) lived in New Rochelle, under Sr. is denied a loan from the bank due to difficulties with the IRS. Frank sees his father trying to charm others to get his way, but they had to move into a smaller apartment. Frank goes to another school where he temporarily convinces his classmates he is a substitute teacher until he gets caught. Paula has an affair with a close friend of the family Jack (Josh Brolin) and divorces Frank Sr. Frank Jr runs away because of the divorce and after using up the money he had begins to run cons, posing as a Pan American pilot; it soon expands to doctor after he falls for a nurse named Brenda (Amy Adams) and proposes to her. He then becomes a lawyer as well to appease her parents (Martin Sheen and Nancy Lenehan). Meanwhile FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) begins trying to track down Frank in his schemes, despite other agents not really believing in check fraud. About as far as I can go without giving away the ending, but keep an eye out for Jennifer Garner, Ellen Pompeo, Elizabeth Banks and the real Frank Abagnale Jr in this movie.
When I watched the movie in full for the first time I was completely fascinated. Frank Abagnale was just a smart kid when he managed to con and charm his way into millions of dollars before people even realized the check was completely phony; I find that intriguing and disturbing. I know the guy Tom Hanks portrayed in the movie is based on the actually agent who was chasing Frank but they had to change his name (I’m guessing for security reasons but I don’t know). Frank Abagnale says that about 80% of the film did actually happen to him, which makes me question the other 20% but it’s a movie. Anyway I loved the performances in this movie, but the standouts for me were DiCaprio, Hanks and Walken. I knew prior to this film how good these guys are but I was blown away by them in this movie; while I will admit I have seen them in a few better roles it is not by too much. Believe it or not Catch Me If You Can also became a Broadway musical for a short period of time. I did not get the chance to see the musical, but I try and catch the movie if I haven’t seen it in a long time. I promise you Catch Me If You Can is a must see and it will not disappoint you.