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The Confidence of Frank Abagnale

Inspiration For Gaining Confidence

Watching this scene from the film ‘catch me if you can’ where Tom Hanks’ character almost busts Leonardo Dicaprio’s character got me immensely fascinated with Dicaprio’s character called Frank.

When Tom’s character called Carl bashes into the room and points a gun at Frank, Frank immediately begins to impersonate a new character to fool Carl with the level of confidence that you don’t get to experience much often.

But I developed a deep interest in the scene not because of its entertainment value, but because of the incredible confidence that Frank displays here. I immediately wanted to identify the root of where Frank got this level of control?

Filmmaking on Catch me if you can

I went back to this scene at fourteen minutes, thirty seconds where Frank’s father is teaching him about believably conning people and then I went forward to this scene at eighteen minutes, thirty seconds where Frank’s father subconsciously feeds him about how high he’s suppose to fly in life.

Then I went forward to nineteen minutes, thirty seconds where Frank steps into a classroom as a student but somebody calls out to him as a substitute teacher because of his getup and within seconds, Frank transits into the mind of a teacher and begins to con the whole classroom.

This scene embodies everything that Frank’s father fed to his mind subconsciously and this embodiment is yet again on the display when Carl almost busts Frank, but Frank finds a way out and makes it look so easy that you can imagine yourself standing in Frank’s shoes and making a fool out of anybody that you want.

Filmmaking on Catch me if you can

But what’s equally interesting is that there’s a breaking point when it comes to Frank’s confidence with manipulating these situations to his advantage. Whenever there are emotional stakes on the line, Frank decides not to deal with them and avoid them altogether.

The scene in the movie where Frank’s parents are getting divorced which he thought was impossible, Frank is given the choice to either stay with his father or his mother. He cares deeply about both of them, so which one is he suppose to go for?

Instead of his mind working out a genius way to get his parents to stay together, Frank decides not to deal with this and run away from home. This tendency of running away was still on display with emotional stakes on the line where Frank is once again about to be busted by Carl, but this time he doesn’t just decide to run away by himself, instead he persuades his fiancé to run away with him.

Now I got immensely interested in searching out any clues in the movie as to why Frank is so irrational when it comes to these emotional moments in his life.

Filmmaking on Catch me if you can

There was a scene when Frank sees his parents dancing together and he envisions an inseparable happy little family. But when his parents get divorced, he doesn’t know how to deal with this reality because he doesn’t want any other reality.

The emotion part of his personality gets further complicated when Frank finds that his mother has married someone else and settled down into another happy life. This is the part where Frank figures that his way of life isn’t worth it anymore and what gets really interesting is that he wants his father to ask him to stop all of this fraud business and not much to my surprise, Frank’s father who perhaps has a much more complex mind than Frank, doesn’t ask Frank to stop and instead he further motivates Frank to fly even higher by any means necessary.

This matter reaches its maximum level of complexity when Frank finds out that his father has passed away and now Frank doesn’t really know what to think about life anymore. But fortunately for Frank, Carl was there to watch Frank’s back and he successfully guides him back into having a new purpose in life. Now instead of Frank playing the fraud game, he will now work with the FBI to fight against the fraud game.

Filmmaking on Catch me if you can

So in the end, I learned that the divorce scenario was the reason for messing up Frank’s mind when it comes to handling emotional scenarios and so he gets this amazing level of confidence when his mind knows there are no emotional stakes on the line. During this scene where Carl almost busts Frank, if Frank had an emotional connection with Carl, then Frank would have never been able to outsmart Carl, but it is only by the end of the movie that these two develop a close friendship and work together from this point and onwards.

Catch me if you can is an incredible film with an incredibly confident character, so if you’re looking to find some inspiration for gaining confidence to handle interesting situations, then I would highly recommend watching this film again and again while taking a closer look at Frank Abagnale Jr.

Until then, subscribe to my YouTube channel, to stay tuned for some film philosophy every Monday.

In the hopes of connecting with film lovers all over the world, this is Mr. Zeecon, in the making of a great story.

Your Thoughts

I would love to hear it from you guys in the comments if Frank Abagnale from 'Catch me if you can' can give you a dosage of confidence to handle tricky situations in your own life?

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