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Changeling (2008)

A movie directed by Clint Eastwood

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  • Aug 14, 2011
On a white background , the top left of the poster is dominated by a woman's head looking down on a much smaller silhouette of a child in the bottom right corner. The woman is pale with prominent red lips and is wearing a brown cloche hat. Across the top of the poster are the names "Angelina Jolie" and "John Malkovich" in uppercase white. Adjacent to the child is the title, "Changeling" in uppercase black. Above are the words, "A true story" in uppercase red. Underneath is the tagline, in uppercase black: "To find her son, she did what no-one else dared."


I went into this film for only one reason and it had nothing to do with Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, or Angelina Jolie. I watched this for Jeffrey Donovan since I am a huge fan of his especially his show with Bruce Campbell "Burn Notice", possibly the best show on today. So I was excited to learn that he was in this and had a major role in it as well. Still with that a side every one involved with this film did an excellent job on this film, including to my surprise Jolie. I know that sounds bad but it really isn't but there will be more on that later, really there will be.

I am sure that every one knows that this is a true story film based on some events that happened called the Wineville murders. The film is based on the man who did these things kidnapping and murdering little kids with his nephew in tow, that part is crazy. Any way along the way they take a boy named Walter Collins and naturally his mother goes crazy looking for him. After months of what I can only imagine as some of the worst pain possible his mother gets the news that her son has been found. When brought to the train station to reunite with him she is astonished when the kid turns out not to be hers, of course the LAPD disagrees with every word. From here the film is a chess match between Mama Collins and the police department, and it is one for the ages. When she refuses to believe that the child brought to her is her son the police with a snap of their fingers put her away in a mental hospital. I assure you that it only gets better from their, I promise.

I have to say that J. Michael Straczynski did a wonderful job adapting the real story into a screenplay that ended up being a brilliant film. I know that it is hard to add all those words and events together especially when you were not there at all. Still I feel that this is very close to what happened and that is saying something. Same can be said for Director Clint Eastwood who once again creates another marvelous picture that got snubbed at the Oscars. This man keeps amazing me with the quality of the films he puts out, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed all of his films when he is behind the camera. You can tell the man has been in the business for a while because he knows how to tell a story. Two more guys that scored again are producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard who once again were apart of one of the best films of the year, they are known to do that from time to time. Sure most of there films end all happy and stuff but you have to admit that the films have been entertaining. While the director had a lot to do with making this a good movie a lot of credit needs to go to the DP Tom Stern who made this film look fantastic. With these people behind this film how could it not be good, the look and feel of this film is amazing.

Acting wise this is a brilliant film and that includes the child actors, that is a rarity even on big budget flicks. Donovan naturally is excellent as Captain Jones of the LAPD, his smug portrayal of the real life man is superb. This is now the fourth or fifth film I have seen him in and like all of the others h gives an excellent performance. Jolie is amazing as well and really changed my mind about her, don't get me wrong I never really hated her but she just seemed like she could only pull off less demanding roles. But I am happy to admit that she did a wonderful job in the lead role and pulled off some very tense moments. John Malkovich as one would expect provides one of the films best performances as the overly paranoid [it seem for good reason] preacher who comes to the aid of Miss Walters. Jason Butler Harner provides maybe the best performance next to Donovan as the murderess Gordon Northcott. He pulls off a crazy performance here and his execution scene is unforgettable in my mind. Some have said that he plays it over the top but I really feel like he did a wonderful job with a difficult character.

This was a wonderful film that I think was snubbed by the Academy but what ever, this film is great with out them. I recommend this flick to any and every one that enjoys a good movie. Normally I would say something like this may not be for every body but this time I will say, every body go get this. Everyone in this film and every one that worked on it should be proud, a marvelous piece of film making based on real events.


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August 15, 2011
I've wanted to see this one for a while. Very nice review, Alex!
August 14, 2011
'Sides from "Girl Interrupted", this stands as my one of top faves from Jolie. Great film and Eastwood's direction was excellent.
More Changeling reviews
review by . April 13, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
You really have to go a ways to lead with Angelina Jolie and be directed by icon Clint Eastwood, and yet create this lame of a film.  Considering the incredibly disturbing nature of the subjects covered, I was beyond let down by the end when I was not only NOT moved to tears, but totally apathetic.  I have a young daughter, and hesitated to watch this film for fear of becoming even more paranoid about her ever coming in harms way.  Yeah, well... that would require the film touching …
Quick Tip by . August 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
This was a wonderful film that I think was snubbed by the Academy but what ever, this film is great with out them. I recommend this flick to any and every one that enjoys a good movie. Normally I would say something like this may not be for every body but this time I will say, every body go get this. Everyone in this film and every one that worked on it should be proud, a marvelous piece of film making based on real events.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
It was really interesting to see Angelina Jolie in such a fragile role and she did it very well. The way she toughens throughout the story also feels genuine. The wider subject treated in the film was also a piece of history I was intrigued to learn about since I have lived and worked previously in LA's Inland Empire.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Angelina Jolie at her best. The story is moving and will make you just mad. I loved it
review by . July 04, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Outstanding performance by Angela Jolie; great supporting cast.     Cons: A little slow at times.     The Bottom Line: A little plodding at times Changeling is a great film and I have little problem recommending it.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. We Americans like to think that our justice system is the best in the world. That our rights, enshrined as they are in the under the Bill of …
review by . September 14, 2009
Changeling is the story, based upon actual events, of Christine Collins' quest to find her young son Walter, missing without a trace. It is also the story of appalling corruption in the government and police department of 1920's-'30's Los Angeles, which apparently has been a significant problem of long-standing. A third subplot involves a serial child killer who may or may not have had contact with Walter, and a forth presents a horrific view of the psychiatric ward in a local hospital.     Ange …
review by . March 04, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
The police finding the wrong boy and insists that it is someone's son…mistakes like this don't happen, do they? Well, apparently they did in Los Angeles back in 1928 and this fact is actually very disquieting. "Changeling" is a film based on the experiences of a woman named Christine Collins and on the murders of a small town outside L.A. called "Wineville". Co-produced by Clint Eastwood and written by one of my favorite writers, J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Midnight Nation, Thor), the film …
review by . March 16, 2009
Christine Collins: The boy they brought back is not my son.       Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. A single mother's only son is missing   2. It takes five months for the Police to reunite the mother and the boy who said "I am the one"   3. But she knew that the kid was not her son   4. The Police Captain insisted: "Don't go Changeling. She'll love you just the way you are"   5. But she didn't   6. …
review by . March 09, 2009
When you watch a historical based true story like the Changeling it's hard to know for sure if the actors are channeling the spirits of those they are portraying. (or if their performace is bad) That being said both Angelina Jolie (Oscar nomination) and Jeffery Donovan do solid jobs at best as they help recreate a story about a real killer in the late 1920s. Clint Eastwood as director and producer kept this film on track as do strong acting performances from John Malkovich and Michael Kelly.  …
review by . March 26, 2009
Little did I know, when I lived in Mira Loma, what heinous crimes had been committed just up the road from my little rural home.  It wasn't until much later that I learned of the Chicken Ranch murders....    What makes this movie spectacular is the attention to every minute detail in terms of set decoration.  I love films set in this period, but this one in particular gives loving homage to the time in which it is set.    Angelina Jolie is a talented …
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About this movie


Changeling is a 2008 American drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by J. Michael Straczynski. Set in 1928 Los Angeles, the film is based on the true story of a woman who is reunited with her kidnapped son—only to realize he is an impostor. After confronting the city authorities, she is vilified as an unfit mother and branded delusional. The incident was related to the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, a kidnapping and murder case uncovered in 1928. Changeling explores themes such as feminine disempowerment and corruption in political hierarchies. It was made by Imagine Entertainment and Malpaso Productions for Universal Pictures.

Clint Eastwood’s mastery as a director, established over the past decade and a half withUnforgiven,Million Dollar Baby,Letters from Iwo Jima, and others, continues withChangeling, a 2008 offering based on a shocking but all-too-true story about child abduction and police corruption in 1920s Los Angeles. Single mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie, excellent in a role with somewhat limited parameters) finds her 9-year-old son, Walter, missing when she returns home from work one day. She files a report with the Los Angeles Police Department, an outfit that was wildly unpopular at the time (in his regular radio broadcast, a crusading pastor played by John Malkovich decries the force as "violent and corrupt," adding that "our protectors are our brutalizers"). When a child roughly matching Walter’s ...
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Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: October 31, 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009
Runtime: 141 min
Studio: Universal Studios
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