Clint Eastwood directs Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich in a provocative thriller based on actual events: Changeling. In the film, Christine Collins’ (Jolie) prayers are met when her kidnapped son is returned. But amidst the frenzy of the photo-op reunion, she realizes this child is not hers. Facing corrupt police and a skeptical public, she desperately hunts for answers, only to be confronted by a truth that will change her forever.
“Changeling” tells the story of a mother’s quest to find her missing son; but there is a lot more to the plot than the disappearance of one little boy. When the police present Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) with a boy she says is not her son, their dogged insistence that she is wrong seems almost comical at first. Obviously a mother can recognize her own child. But the extent of the corruption in her local police department ensures that in her quest to find the truth, Christine will have to endure much more than the emotional pain of losing a child.
It seems to me that the most shocking stories are not invented by writers, but occur in reality. “Changeling” portrays events that are so incredible, and at times disturbing, that viewers may wish they were a work of fiction. However, the fact that these events actually took place adds a certain intensity to the experience of viewing this film. If it were just a tale spun by screenwriters, this 141-minute long movie would not have captivated me to the extent that it did, as certain aspects of the plot seemed to take longer than necessary to unfold.
There is a certain amount of violence in “Changeling” which is extremely disturbing in nature, and the language alone is enough to prevent the awarding of the Dove Seal to this movie. However, that being said, director Clint Eastwood’s film tells an important story about the devastating effects of police corruption, and the abuse of power by those in positions of authority. We are sorry we could not award it our Seal.