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Changeling (2008)

A movie directed by Clint Eastwood

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2008, A Great Year For Brangelina

  • Feb 28, 2009
  • by
2008 will undoubtedly be a memorable year for Hollywoods power couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Pitt had the magnificent "Curious Case of Benjamin Button" which gained him a 2009 Best Actor Nomination and "Changeling" won Angelina a 2009 Best Actress Nomination. There were both given due to high levels of acting justification displayed by both sides, but most intensely on the side of Jolie.

"Changeling" sees Jolie playing Christine Collins, a single Mother who made the headlines when her 9 year old son Walter, went missing. After 5 weeks of searching the L.A.P.D. claimed to have found a boy claiming to be Walter. A public reunion was organised between the mother and lost son, as a media circus to try and take away the attention from corruption scandals within the L.A.P.D. The boy is reunited with Collins but she claims he is not her son, but is forced to take him home "on a trial basis" so as to avoid police embarassment.

Christine Collins keeps up the pressure on the Police to find her real son, but thanks to the cruelty of Captain J.J. Jones (Jeffrey Donovan) her pleas are not listened to and she's forced to take matters into her own hands. She gets dental records and teacher testimonials to confirm the boy who's claimed to be her son in fact is not. Jones gets a bit tired of all the hassle he's receiving and the negative press attention to case is receiving, so he authorises her to be locked in a mental hospital. Not all is lost as her guardian angel Reverend Gustav Briegleb (John Malkovich). He and his congregation are the only people who believe her and they join the fight to find out the truth and rid L.A. of corruption.

The setting of 1920's Los Angeles is cleverly depicted and helps make the story and its characters all the more authentic. Clint Eastwood has a genuine talent for creating an emotional moment and drawing its audience in and engaging them with the characters. This is obviously helped with the use of 5 star actors and that is no more apparent here. Angelina Jolie plays the role amazingly and next to Gia, in my eyes this is one of her best genuine acting performances. She didn't need to sex up the role, or become all angry and violent, she just told the story of a Mother who had lost her son and wasn't believed by the people who were meant to protect her.

John Malkovich plays a good role as Briegleb and seemed to delve so deep in the role, I actually didn't recognise it was him until I saw the credits at the end. Jeffrey Donovans, J.J. Jones comes across as sincerely evil and sadistic and just unconcerned with this womans plight.

The fact that this story is based on factual events makes the film all the more terrifying. How the Police Department could destroy a womans and their publics trust by trying to cover up their mistake for PR purposes. Of course there are aspects of the story that are either changed or removed completely for the sakes of the film, which is OK as they're relatively small aspects that have been amended

It's an amazing film and possibly Angelina's best, unfortunately she didn't win the Oscar and the old cliche saying is significant in this situation "She Was Robbed."

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October 21, 2010
Jeffrey Donovan did a great job in this film, nice review.
March 01, 2009
The majority of the film was shot in indoor settings so the need for editing out sky lines was very minimal. The settings were very authentic and it was a good movie all round.
March 01, 2009
Given that I love historical fictions or just historical movies, I really looked forward to seeing this in movies but somehow I completely forgot to see it. Did they do a good job showing an "authentic" 1920s-style setting? Some movies are notorious for not having edited or removed building skylines, technology, etc.
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.  …
About the reviewer
Steven Stewart ()
Ranked #94
Currently studying Law at University, my main interests revolve around Politics. I read quite a lot and love learning about History. Not just the history of a specific time, place and person, but I'm … more
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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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