Changeling 2008 Movie Scene Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins at her job waiting to hear from police about her missing son

Changeling [2008]

When you see a movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie, you simply know it’s going to be good. Changeling is a deeply disturbing and provocative drama based on true events, which makes it even more fucked up. We will be following a single mother determined to find her missing son no matter what. During her quest, she will have to fight not just the criminals but also the police and the general public. The story takes place during the late 1920s, almost ten years after the end of World War I. I don’t need to tell you that the world was a very different place back then.

If you weren’t sure about Angelina Jolie’s acting talent, I think you will be now. Her performance is strong, and committed and it further enhances the harrowing nature of this whole case. Now, if you want to know more about it, you can start with the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders. What a strange name for such a horrific crime, if I might add. Writer J. Michael Straczynski first read about this case back in 1983. He spent the next couple of decades researching it and writing the script. Immersive and emotional, the story explores several different themes. 

From childcare over police corruption to the system of values our society upholds. I don’t want to reveal too much about the story because this is one of those movies that speaks for itself. And you can bet your ass that all the technical aspects were top-notch. Changeling is a period movie, so this means vintage clothes, cars, buildings, and everything else. You can almost feel this rift between the dreamy visuals and the depraved events unfolding before your eyes. Our society has improved since then but it still remains in the clutches of the tribal system of values.

It is the year of our Lord Satan 1928 and a single mother, Christine Collins, is about to have one of parents’ worst nightmares come to life. She returns home, but her nine-year-old son Walter is not there. And although this would be a nationwide crisis today, back then it was just another police report. Christine knows that something is terribly wrong, but after months and months of investigation, the LAPD still has no answers. However, several months after the incident, they contact her claiming that they have found Walter…

The patriarchy is also one of the themes I should not forget to mention. It goes hand in hand with widespread misogyny. And just to be perfectly clear, all of these themes are handled in an intelligent way. There’s no melodrama or characters beating you over the head with conclusions. There’s just raw life in the 1920s and one case highlights several important issues. You should be aware that the running time is almost two and a half hours meaning that this is a movie that’s going to eat up your whole movie night. But it will be totally worth it.

If for nothing else than for the escapism of the 1920s Los Angeles. You can see a city that’s about to become a metropolis. In a way, you can follow up Changeling with Chinatown, a neo-noir thriller also taking place in the City of Angels. Finally, if you’re ready for it, The Gray Man awaits you. This 2007 serial killer movie is deeply disturbing and it’s also taking place right around there.

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski

Cast: Angelina Jolie, Gattlin Griffith, Michael Kelly, John Malkovich, Michelle Gunn

Fun Stuff: Hilary Swank and Reese Witherspoon both wanted to play the lead role in this movie. However, Clint Eastwood decided to go with Jolie since she had the appropriate look for this type of a period movie.


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