Critics Consensus

Beautifully shot and well-acted, Changeling is a compelling story that unfortunately gives in to convention too often.



Reviews Counted: 204

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 227,031


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.8/5

You may have noticed some of the recent changes we have made. To read more about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes, please check out our new RT Product Blog here.

Want to See

Add Rating
My Rating    

Changeling Photos

Movie Info

Inspired by actual events that occurred in 1920s-era Los Angeles, Clint Eastwood's The Changeling tells the story of a woman driven to confront a corrupted LAPD after her abducted son is retrieved and she begins to suspect that the boy returned to her is not the same boy she gave birth to. The year was 1928, and the setting a working-class suburb of Los Angeles. As Christine (Angelina Jolie) said goodbye to her son, Walter, and departed for work, she never anticipated that this was the day her life would be forever changed. Upon returning home, Christine was distressed to discover that Walter was nowhere to be found. Over the course of the following months, the desperate mother would launch a search that would ultimately prove fruitless. Yet just when it seemed that all hope was lost, a nine-year-old boy claiming to be Christine's son seemed to appear out of thin air. Overcome with emotions and uncertain how to face the authorities or the press, Christine invites the child to stay in her home despite knowing without a doubt that he is not her son. As much as Christine would like to accept the fact that her son has been returned to her, she cannot accept the injustice being pushed upon her and continues to challenge the Prohibition-era Los Angeles police force at every turn. As a result, Christine is slandered by the powers that be, and painted as an unfit mother. In this town, a woman who challenges the system is putting her life on the line, and as the situation grows desperate, the only person willing to aid her in her search is benevolent local activist Reverend Briegleb (John Malkovich).

Watch it now


Angelina Jolie
as Christine Collins
John Malkovich
as Rev. Gustav Briegleb
Jeffrey Donovan
as Capt. J.J. Jones
Michael Kelly
as Det. Lester Ybarra
Colm Feore
as Chief James E. Davis
Frank Wood
as Ben Harris
Reed Birney
as Mayor Cryer
Jason Butler Harner
as Gordon Northcott
Amy Ryan
as Carol Dexter
Denis O'Hare
as Dr. Jonathan Steele
Peter Gerety
as Dr. Earl W. Tarr
Gattlin Griffith
as Walter Collins
Devon Conti
as Arthur Hutchins
Eddie Alderson
as Sanford Clark
View All

News & Interviews for Changeling

Critic Reviews for Changeling

All Critics (204) | Top Critics (48)

There are moments when it seems as if it wants to be an inspirational story about a person who refuses to be beaten by a corrupt system -- but it doesn't, in the end, settle for the uplifting narrative.

Feb 13, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Eastwood is a director made for melodrama and this one proves a lot juicier than Gran Torino, with its dry, dogged sense of righteousness.

Feb 5, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

It's a tough movie but also rewarding and inspiring: something of a quiet triumph.

Nov 28, 2008 | Rating: 5/6 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

What a bold, virile, operatic piece of film-making from this 78-year-old director. He is now well into a remarkable late period, and I sense we ain't seen nothing yet.

Nov 28, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Eastwood, who has made fine movies in recent years, has got hold of a humdinger of a story. But he's too detached and lazy here.

Nov 10, 2008 | Full Review…

Clint Eastwood's Changeling falls into a common trap: by trying to do too much, it accomplishes too little.

Oct 31, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Changeling

Eastwood's firm direction and Angelina Jolie's powerful performance help make this a gripping film that is as tough to watch as it is definitely rewarding, and it features a fabulous production design and cinematography as well.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Enjoyable, historical drama. Not my favorite, but not bad either.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Changeling is the true story of a young mother in 1920s America whose son goes missing, but when the wrong boy is returned to her she is persecuted by a corrupt police force trying to avoid public embarrassment. Another beautifully crafted and intelligent drama from Clint Eastwood, Changeling is quite an unbelievable story. It highlights the dreadful, uncaring hypocrisy of corrupt officials, the appalling treatment of the mentally ill of the time, not to mention those "hysterical" women who were committed to avoid embarrassment or inconvenience. The period is meticulously recreated and the plot combines the story of a woman unshakably seeking justice against enormous odds and the investigation into a harrowing serial killer case. The cast are all of course quality, apart from the fact that although she turns in in quite a creditable performance, you can never quite forget you are in the presence of Her Jolieness rather than witnessing actual events. The result is leagues ahead of the hand wringing melodrama that missing child stories usually entail and serves both as an intriguing mystery and cautionary tale about human indifference to the suffering of others.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

WOW Clint Eastwood is fantastic, as usual Eastwood directs another fantastic movie and its brilliant, If you liked Million Dollar Baby, Gran Tourino, Blood work and any others of his directional films then you'll love this movie as much as i have. Angelina Jolie needs to be recognized as well in this movie her and eastwood have made a brilliant time in this movie and she plays the part fantasticly making the part so convincing and her own. This is an emotional and heartwarming , enlightening true story that touches the heart, and its actually hard to believe that this movie is a true story because of the police thinking that the life of a child isnt worth that much compared to the integrity of the force!! As a True Story this movie is about a child vanishing but 5 months later apparently Jolie child is save and bought back to her but she is convinced he isnt her child this starts to unravel corruption , lies and sanity! Jolie will go to any lengths to find her child and no one will get in her way except the polie force . John Malkovich makes a brilliant supporting actor this movie is just completely worth a watch!

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Changeling Quotes

News & Features