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Changeling (2008)

A movie directed by Clint Eastwood

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An Incredibly Well Told Story

  • Feb 20, 2009
This is one beautifully done film. It is one of the best told stories I have seen in a very long time. Angelina Jolie is absolute perfection in the role as a mother. The rest of the cast is so perfect, everyone plays their roles to perfection - including the children.

There were two moments in the film where this viewer almost suspended belief in the film. Two very simple questions could have been asked, and most of the story would not have happened. However, it's important to remember that this film is based on a real story. Those two moments (one at the train station and the second at the police station) must have not happened for some reason. From there, every single moment of this film is believeable.

The cast is remarkable. Angelina Jolie transforms through this film, from a calm mother that loves her son, to a frantic mother looking for her missing son, and then the calm and confidence at the end of the film. She is a force to watch. Jeffery Donovan (Burn Notice) is perfection as the police captain ready to do anything, and Christine Collin's nemisis. John Malkovich loses the crazies he's had lately (especially Burn After Reading), and proves that he is an amazing actor. Michael Kelly (Sopranos and Law and Order) is the quiet kind police officer that uncovers the farm. Dennis O'Hare (Law and Order, CSI, and Brothers and Sisters) is piercing as the head doctor in the asylum. Peter Gerety (Law and Order Judge and Homicide Life On The Street) finally moves out of his roles as judge to be a single minded doctor falsly identifying Christine as insane. The cast is deep, and many. The performances are all splendid.

At 2 hours and 20 minutes, this film seemed like it would be too long. But in fact it is exactly the right length. The story moves along at a deliberate pace, it builds gradually through the search for Walter Collins. And the story resolves itself at exactly the right moment, with perfect speed and book end to absorb all that happened. The time goes by very quickly.

Clint Eastwood is beginning to look like a very good director. Million Dollar Baby and Letters From Iwo Jima show his growing skills. He has managed to get some really fine performances across the entire cast of Changeling.

Sound was used very carefully. The surround effects were kept to a minimum. One startling moment when the rear channels light up, is in the prison, adding intensity to the moment. Otherwise this is a dialog heavy film. The dynamic range on the dialog is really huge. There are moments so quiet it's almost impossible to hear, these are then followed by very loud dialog.

Camera work, focus and exposure were virtually perfect throughout the film.

The DVD contains two featurette pieces about Angelina Jolie becoming Christine, and another about Clint Eastwood making the film. Frankly after a film this moving, bonus features are really not necessary.

This is definately an R rated film. There are two moments with electroshock therapy I'm not sure most can endure, the fast forward button is a good friend (there's plenty of warning, just remember room 18). The story is just so difficult that anyone under 17 is probably not well equipped for this film, or they would have to be an extremely mature child. There is a very brief moment of nudity, and there is a bit of language.

I was very hesitant to watch this film. My wife and I decided one evening to watch this. We are both very glad we watched this. It's a wonderfully done film.

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October 21, 2010
Excellent review, Jeffrey Donovan was great in this.
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 …
review by . August 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
      CHANGELING      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 …
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.  …
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Dan lebryk ()
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Member Since: Aug 5, 2010
Last Login: Nov 13, 2010 06:55 PM UTC
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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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