We caught up to this Clint Eastwood-directed drama from a while back, and I was glad we did. CHANGELING is based on the true story of Christine Collins, a single mother from Los Angeles whose son disappears in 1928. Several months later, a boy is found in DeKalb, Illinois, who is identified as the missing youngster. When he’s brought back to L.A., though, Christine insists that he’s not her son, which earns her the enmity of the Los Angeles police force, especially the detective in charge of the case who feels that Christine is trying to embarrass him.
From there the plot goes through numerous twists and turns, and when seemingly unrelated elements crop up, you know they’re going to wind up being connected to the disappearance of Christine’s son. Eventually you get police corruption, political in-fighting, mass murder, media frenzies, and people being thrown into the psycho ward. It’s harrowing stuff, especially knowing that it’s based on a true story, but very compelling and well-done.
Angelina Jolie plays Christine, and while her off-screen celebrity makes it difficult for her to get past the “Hey, it’s Angelina Jolie!” reaction from the viewer, she does a pretty good job for most of the film. The supporting cast is good, too, most notably Jeffery Donovan, who usually plays a good guy but is really slimy here as the police detective. The recreation of Los Angeles in the 1920s is very effective. There are one or two holes in the plot that bothered me, but not enough to ruin the movie.
Overall, CHANGELING is a grim but rewarding movie, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I think it’s well worth watching.