Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Colm Feore, Amy Ryan, and John Malkovich
Rated: R (some violent images and language)
The LAPD was under much scrutiny in 1920′s Los Angeles, having its share of controversy and corruption. Changeling illuminates a missing person case gone awry which demonstrates and validates such controversy. Angelina Jolie plays Christine Collins, a single mother who does nothing but live for her child. One could imagine her feeling of panic when her son goes missing one day. Not being a parent yet myself, I can’t even fathom the feeling and thoughts that would go through my head if I were in a similar situation.
As months go by, Christine never gives up hope in the search for her son. Jolie’s dedication as a parent in real life must show through during these scenes of emotion, as she portrays the feelings of a worried and determined mother with unquestionable conviction. As our hope begins to dwindle, Christine is reuinited with a boy whom she is told is her missing son. This is where things really heat up.
John Malvovich steps in as a reverend who hosts a radio show that attempts to expose the wrongdoings of the LAPD. He lends his support to Christine as she refutes the idea that the boy presented to her is her son. If the idea that the wrong child would be returned to a mother, and the police force her to believe that the child is her own when it is not, sounds completely preposterous, keep in mind that this is based on a true story.
True story films are always a pleasure of mine. It adds to the whole experience. You’re not just watching an entertaining film, but you’re watching a story. What is exceptional about Changeling is that I would assume that while not having researched the case on my own, the story is fairly fact based. I assume this because there is a lack of romanticism, action or other Hollywood happy-feeling rubbish to tarnish the effectiveness of the story.
I’ve been a long time fan of Clint Eastwood’s acting, and his directing is becoming a favorite of mine also. Changeling demonstrates everything that you want in a good film: a solid story, believable and dedicated actors, and all of those elements that enhance our sensory perceptions: beautiful historically accurate set pieces paired with the perfect selection of music (Eastwood’s ability as a composer is possibly more impressive than his directing).
The story in Changeling isn’t always a happy one, but it is one of hope and truth. A movie like this is a reminder that never giving up hope and sticking up for what you believe in, even when you’re up against scary odds, will inevitably have a positive impact on someone else if not yourself. Those who want to see a display of heartfelt filmmaking, and perhaps proof that Angelina Jolie is more than good looks and tabloid headlines, should see this movie. Perfect Rating IMDb/trailer | Official Movie Site