Changeling - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Changeling Reviews

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½ September 22, 2016
First half: a compelling and well-acted mystery melodrama, watching this mother and boy navigate these strange waters is emotionally wrenching. Second half: the character and plot complexities disappear behind forced dramatics and credibility problems. (I think it's time to admit that I'm just not a Clint Eastwood fan.)
½ August 28, 2016
Wonderful acting but definitely hit me hard
½ August 8, 2016
Pretty good, interesting mystery.
½ July 19, 2016
What a difference 8 years makes. This film was positively received at Cannes in 2008. I'm pretty certain it would be laughed out of Cannes today. It is disastrously classical in its composition. 'Bad people' are fought by 'good people' with a nice dollop of 'justice' at the end. Cringeworthy scenes and dialogues are rife; "it gave me something I never had before...hope" followed by "I sentence you to death by hanging" Jolie flinches as the judges gavel is banged down.
I know Ron Howard couldn't direct it, and it seems Clint Eastwood couldn't direct it either. Poor.
July 19, 2016
Wonderful picture, great performance, solid supporting cast. C. Eastwood's fine directing of powerful story yet plot lines seem to collide and overcomplicate picture.
July 13, 2016
An extremely underrated peice of feminist cinema.
July 5, 2016
Okay I'm pretty sure I meant to press Want to See because WOW. I can't believe these were true events. The cast was sublime and the plot was traumatizing but riveting. Angelina was INCREDIBLE.
June 27, 2016
I had been wanting to see Changeling since it was out in theaters. I finally got around to it on DVD. It's a very very good film but I don't know if I could watch it sad. Angelina Jolie deserved her Oscar nod. As Christine Collins she's submissive, soft-spoken and highly emotional (the epitome of what men viewed women to be back then). Amazing acting all the way. I'm glad she stuck it to the LAPD for being assholes. I do love Jeffrey Donovan in "Burn Notice" and it was nice to see him play the bad guy and trust me he's a very bad guy.  Recommended for non mothers.
April 25, 2016
Some cheesy dialogue aside, "Changeling" is an unnerving, fact-based crime drama featuring a flawless performance from Angelina Jolie and, thus, another great film from Clint Eastwood.
April 21, 2016
An intriguing case-study in human nature and the mishandling of justice controlled by Jolie's somber and emotional lead performance.
½ March 21, 2016
Top film!Jolie fantastic!
March 20, 2016
A beautifully shot, well directed, slow but not boring, drama that leaves many questions unanswered, except "hope" - the last spoken word in the movie.
Good watch.
March 11, 2016
March 1, 2016
Not as good as I hoped it would be, but OK to watch once.
February 28, 2016
The strategic February release and shameless touting for Oscar honours with unnecessary subliminally self-promoting scene insinuates that Changeling, directed by Clint Eastwood should be a shoe-in to sweep the Academy Awards, However does it really deserve it?

Films based on true stories have predetermined burdens to carry; portraying the truth of the situation as it happened, entertaining to audiences whilst being set in a particular time and having the ability to emotionally connect with viewers. Changeling is merely more than adequate on all of these fronts.

Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) is a roller-skating telephone exchange supervisor in 1920's Los Angeles. After shifts, the single mother returns to her small-town home and her quietly independent nine year old son Walter (Gatlin Griffith).

After promising Walter a day at the pictures, Christine is called to fill in a shift. Upon her return Walter is missing, as all mothers would, Christine calls the (less than helpful) Police Department for assistance.

During a time of police brutality, corruption and laziness, Captain J.J Jones (Jeffrey Donovan) heads the police investigation to find Christine's son. After five months of no progression, bad publicity and claims of a failing system, a child (Devon Conti) surfaces across the country who claims to be Walter.

Captain Jones needing the child to help settle rumours brings him to LA in an attempt to reunite him with his relieved mother. However, standing on the platform in front of all the press, what should be a joyous moment for Christine, turns to sour when the boy produced is obviously not her son.

When Christine unequivocally states that the child is not her son, Jones manipulates the distraught mother and states "take him home on a trial basis, see how it goes, he has nowhere else to go" and like any other mother, Christine accepts to take the boy.

No matter that Walter is now three inches shorter than when he left (five months prior), he does not know the basics of his life and he is now circumcised; the police and Captain Jones continue to bully Christine and try to force her into submission.

Christine finally reaches a point where she can no longer tolerate and self-deceit and helped by a crusading radio evangelist, Gustav Briegleb (John Malkovich) she decides to make her case public.

At this point the film shifts focus, moving from every mother's greatest fear to a horrific nightmare. After Christine's tell all to the press, she is rewarded for her insubordination and is secretly whisked off into a mental hospital for a D12 admittance; a term used for women who have fallen foul of the LAPD.

Surrounded by unyielding matrons and doctors with their own agendas, Christine continues to wail her stance "I want my son back" and for her troubles is hooked up in readiness for electric-shock treatment.

At this late stage (over an hour into the 2 1/2 hour film) a second plot line begins to emerge, offering a new explanation to the location of the Christine's true son. At the same time as Walters disappearance there was a case brought forth on one Gordon Northcott known as 'the chicken coop killer'. Although at the time there was never any solid evidence linking the two cases, this is the path the movie inevitably follows.

Despite its harrowing subject matter; Changeling is utterly unmoving and fails to truly connect with viewers. Eastwood's overdone style is too classical and too restrained to get inside his characters; they feel like well-costumed under directed showroom mannequins.

Strangely trying to reincarnate the success of A mighty heart, Angelina Jolie brings all her superstar-wattage to a role that commands the admiration of a benchmark piece but doesn't have the staying power. Although she is stunning and the use of colour in her lips gives a strong timeline to the film, she does fall short of expectation.

The only acting light is shed by the truly talented Malkovich. Leaving his indelible mark, shining clearly through the uncultured professionalism of his TV cop style co-stars and after school special amateur drama child actors. Whether paedophiles or crooked cops the so-called baddies were woefully bad, leaving little scope for ambiguity or suspense.

The Verdict: With a mood of stateliness bordering on the sleep-inducing leaves audiences cold even in last week's unusual heat wave. Although a solid B movie, any kind of Oscar recognition for it would be a serious mistake.

Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 13/02/2009
February 21, 2016
Hated this stupid movie and I hate Angelina Jolie too. She sucks.
January 12, 2016
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2015
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.
November 12, 2015
A gripping story, well told with superlative acting. It will fully absorb you as the tale unfolds. The props department should also get a big thumbs up for providing the right atmosphere for LA in the 1920s/1930s. This production ranks up there with other classic films about Los Angeles such as LA Confidential and Chinatown.
October 20, 2015
I really liked Angelina Jolie in this movie - well acted! I honestly became a fan after this movie. And the music is just oh so good!
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