This is one of those films I never got round to seeing when it was out at the cinema; I saw the previews, Angelina Jolie screaming 'It's not my son', wearing a hat, etc etc. I thought it looked interesting, but it didn't make me go 'wow', I didn't feel the need to drag along one of my cinema buddies to come and see it with me, there was other stuff on that looked more fun. However, after watching the dvd last night, I really regret missing it - the film was superb and would have been brilliant on the big screen.
What is perhaps the most interesting and most appalling aspect to the film is that it is quite closely based on real events that occurred in 1928 Los Angeles in the 'Wineville Chicken Coop' kidnap and murder case. It follows Christine Collins (Jolie) and her fight to be heard when her son Walter is kidnapped from home, and the police return her the wrong boy. Female inequality, police corruption, and terrifying miscarriages of justice ensue; Collins is only taken seriously when a young boy comes forward to inform the police about the slaughter of several young children, one of which was Walter Collins.
I think what put me off seeing this film when it was released was Angelina Jolie being in the lead role - to this point I had only seen her in boyish, aggressive roles - like in Tomb Raider, Girl Interrupted, Mr and Mrs Smith - not terrible films, but her characters in them were never particularly 'nice'. In short, I judged the film because I had decided I didn't like her. Well, if I had a hat right now, I would have to eat it, because her performance was outstanding. Unlike the boisterous, outspoken roles said to have been close to the actress herself, here Jolie was timid, polite, likeable, with great strength within in her stemming from a mother's determination to find her son. She commanded respect. With the help of an always brilliant yet intimidating John Malkovich, and ray of hope; Michael Kelly, and of course, expert direction from the legendary Clint Eastwood, the film came to an emotionally draining, fascinating, and haunting conclusion.
I was engrossed from start to finish.
Changeling - 5/5