Running Time: 141 minutes
Starring: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Rating: 6 .5 out of 10
A woman takes on the LAPD after the return the wrong child to her after hers goes missing.
For all you Star Trek nerds out there this isn’t a film about Odo from Deep Space Nine. Nor is it a documentary about Beorn from the Hobbit. Changeling is based on the true story of Christine Collins. After her child disappears the LAPD returns to her an imposter in place of her missing child. She takes on the corrupt police force while never losing faith that her child was still out there.
Simply put if you can make it past the first half an hour of this film it turns into a pretty decent drama. The start to this film is abysmal though. It is so slow and boring it was shocking to me that it was able to turn itself around. The beginning of this film sees the viewer introduced to Christine and her son as they go about their everyday lives. All I took from the start of this film is that living in the 1920’s must have been balls. Their lives are very mundane and that makes watching it mundane. Christine is a single mother and a switch board supervisor and that’s about it. The film doesn’t really start to get interesting until after her son disappears and the subsequent return of the imposter child by the LAPD. From there the struggle for the truth and some huge civil rights violations is intriguing and sometimes downright chilling. David versus Goliath stories will always be a good watch and this is no different. The LAPD at the time were a bunch of corrupt and lawless individuals so Christine really has an uphill battle in the search for her missing son. Not only that she has to live with an obnoxious child imposter and has to care for him during her grief. Her pain and fear is palpable as no one seems to want to help find her child.
Christine is played by Angelina Jolie and she is solid in the role as a distraught single mother. Her wide range of emotions is captured through sudden outbursts of rage and touching sadness of tears. She has to jump through hoops to find her son and her love seems very real which makes this story very touching. The other acting job of note is Reverend Briegleb played by John Malkovich. He is not only a man of faith but also a crusader for civil rights and his passionate portrayal helps this movie along. The LAPD are a corrupt entity and he is bringing that truth out to the public.
As the film moves along the viewer will feel Christine’s pain as she is physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by these corrupt cops. In a surprising twist what starts out as a basic story of a lost child turns into a thriller. It involves murder and deceit of monstrous proportions. The viewer will be swept along for the ride and will feel a range of emotions from shock to happiness and from laughter to rage. The ending brings closure to a film that if it had a better start could have won best picture.
Director Clint Eastwood takes on a challenging period piece and delivers just another good drama. (Mystic River, Gran Torino) The old time buildings, cars, and clothing are all authentic and the sweeping tale of police corruption and malicious practices will enrage most viewers. Besides the terrible introduction this film settles into a fantastic tale of the power of love. This is another great job from a fantastic director.
I give this movie a recommendation but especially to drama lovers.
T Factor + If you like Angelina Jolie as an actress than this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like slow moving films than this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Mystic River, The Aviator.