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114 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I want MY son!"
Angelina Jolie stars as Christine Collins whose nine-year old son vanished from their Los Angeles home in 1928. She met with little cooperation from the police, and when they finally found the boy and brought him back home, she said, "That's not my son."

This movie was based on a true story and directed by Clint Eastwood in a gritty, no-frills style. There...
Published on 1 Nov 2008 by Kona

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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but should have been shorter
`Changeling' stars Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins, a single mother in living in Los Angeles in 1928. On Saturday morning she is called into work, having to leave her young son alone for a while. When she returns a few hours later, he has vanished. Months later, a boy claiming to be her son is returned. After the initial shock and being pushed frequently by reporters...
Published on 3 Feb 2009 by Dr Evil


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114 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I want MY son!", 1 Nov 2008
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Changeling [DVD] (DVD)
Angelina Jolie stars as Christine Collins whose nine-year old son vanished from their Los Angeles home in 1928. She met with little cooperation from the police, and when they finally found the boy and brought him back home, she said, "That's not my son."

This movie was based on a true story and directed by Clint Eastwood in a gritty, no-frills style. There isn't a lot of action, but it definitely holds your interest until the very end. Jolie gives a strong performance as the mother who wouldn't stop looking for her son, even when she battled the corrupt police chief. Jolie is on-screen just about every minute and is a formidable screen presence. She and the rest of the cast, including John Malkovich, are all good in this very somber and intense piece.

The costumes, sets, and locations are perfectly done in 1920s style and the photography uses a lot of natural light adding to the old-fashioned feel. The movie about a mother's love and police corruption is fascinating, but it's also relentlessly grim and left me feeling quite depressed. A well-made movie, though.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes its place amongst the first rank of Eastwood's work, 6 Feb 2009
By 
Rob (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Changeling [DVD] (DVD)
Changeling is a gripping movie for adults - 'manna for grown ups' as one reviewer rightly called it. Angelina Jolie turns in a terrific performance as Christine Collins, a demure single mother in 1920's Los Angeles whose missing son becomes a rallying point for the oppressed citizens of LA, suffering under the boot of a ruthlessly corrupt police force and mayoralty.

But as Christine struggles with an impostor son that a disinterested LA police force has preposterously tried to fob her off with as her own there's a big twist when another young boy is arrested in a routine deportation case and does he have a story to tell. A tale so horrifying that it would instantly qualify as any parents worst nightmare. When I saw this film in the cinema the packed out audience gasped - literally gasped out loud - during the confession scene between this kid and the police officer.

Jolie has never been quite this good and though she stays commendably in character as a demure mother who doesn't want to make a fuss, she brings a fantastic larger than life movie star presence to her role that she seems able to turn on and off at will. She's a terrific actress in the body of a goddess and watching her evokes so much of the spirit of a Rita Hayworth or a Joan Crawford in their luminous prime. But she's not the only star here. One of the great pleasures of Changeling is watching so many unknown character actors given the chance to strut their stuff and, boy, do they take it. So take a bow Jason Butler Harner as Gordon Northcott, Eddie Alderson as Nothcott's in-fear-of-his-life nephew, Jeffrey Donovan as a pig-headed Oirish cop and Michael Kelly as seemingly the only honest policeman in LA. They're all fantastic.

The script is just as outstanding, moving effortlessly from one genre to another - part period crime thriller, part psycho ward drama, part serial killer movie, part courtroom procedural. It begins small and then expands to take in political corruption, the status of women in the 1920's, the way children and adults view the same event, and the satisfaction (or not) of capital punishment. What's most impressive is the way Clint Eastwood orchestrates all of this because Changeling shifts gears so smoothly that one remains completely transfixed, indeed amazed, throughout.

Changeling represents a notable development in Eastwood's evolution as a filmmaker. Never before has he handled such a sprawling, multi-stranded story with such ease or confidence.

There's also a real sense of anger as Eastwood leaves us in no doubt how he feels about the way Collins - and the other female victims of the pernicious Code 12 which allowed the police to toss anyone they disapproved of into the madhouse - were treated by the authorities. Indeed, the endless parade of true life stories in which police and social services are found to have victimised single mothers in order to cover up their own incompetence means that Changeling carries a genuine contemporary resonance as a cautionary tale.

Amazon's editorial review suggests the film goes on to long and sags in the final stretch. I couldn't disagree more. In fact I think this is one of the best edited movies I have seen in a long while. The multiple storylines and shifting emotional moods are so well captured by Joel Cox and Gary Roach's editing that they deserved an Oscar nomination in themselves. The technical aspects are also top notch throughout and how pleasing it is to see a period piece in which the sets and costumes never once overwhelm the characters or the story. Eastwood's lovely score is the icing on the cake.

Changeling was the first of two masterful Eastwood movies in 2008, the other being Gran Torino. Both come highly recommended for those hungering for movies the way they used to make 'em (and I mean that in the best possible sense).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A visual treat, a fascinating true story but something of a dramatic void, 20 Aug 2009
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
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The title of this film, at least for the UK market, gave me the impression that it was some kind of science fiction story, and of course it is nothing of the sort. So I do think the title is slightly misleading, even if the tale does indeed pivot around a little boy who has changed in at least two ways. Anyway the film is set in Los Angeles of the late 1920s and right from the first minute it was plain to see that director Clint Eastwood had cut no corners in creating a vivid and convincing period piece from a visual perspective, and in terms of style and atmosphere it has to be considered an unconditional success. It's based on a true story, in simple terms that of a missing boy who is 'found' several months later but whose mother Christine Collins (played well by Angelina Jolie) knows is not her real son, who had also gone missing. He's three inches shorter, for a start! But the bigger picture is that of the dirty tricks employed by the corrupt and very unpopular Los Angeles Police Department, and in a sense this film represents the legacy left by Ms Collins with regard to her unintentional infuence on LAPD structure and politics, although she is more of a figurehead than an activist as it is a campaigning pastor the Reverend Gustav Briegleb (John Malkovich) together with a high-profile legal team who eventually assist her in a quest for justice.

As is often the case with a Clint Eastwood film, it is sumptuous in its photographic depth and palette and meticulously detailed in its telling of a true story. As a Blu-ray transfer this is a very good one. Its one flaw, and it's a significant one, is that it is way too long. My copy was 143 minutes in all, and I think that with judicious editing it could have been trimmed and improved to below two hours. Most of the excess is at the very end, when the outcome is known - but the film itself doesn't end when the viewer expects it to, and in hindsight should have done.

I have to say though that in addition to the excessive length, I found the overall effect slightly less emotionally moving than I expected or wanted it to be. I can put this down to either the choice of Angelina Jolie as leading actress - who probably puts in her best performance to date but is ultimately not quite up to the demands of an intensely personal role such as this - or perhaps Eastwood's direction of her, in that the performance she delivered was simply what the director demanded. But there was something slightly sterile about it, and despite the suitable period clothing and hairstyle she always looked more like Angelina Jolie than the character she was portraying. Another key character was her effectual nemesis in Police Captain J.J. Jones (Jeffrey Donovan) who lacked that indefinable nastiness that makes a viewer hate him; he seemed to have a conscience as opposed to being ruthlessly evil, which differs for example from the somewhat similar role of Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) in the classic L.A. Confidential, which tackled a comparable issue - police corruption - in the same city some twenty years after this one. John Malkovich is excellent but under-used, but the man at the centre of the baddest badness, Gordon Northcott (Jason Butler Harner) was suitably impressive and dislikeable. He was one of the few characters I 'engaged with' emotionally, as many of the other key players, while technically excellent, somehow failed to move me in the ways that I felt they should.

So it's not a perfect film, despite its riveting story, but definitely worth seeing because it provides visual rewards in all sorts of different ways and it's all the more gripping for being based on actual events. I think that Eastwood has succeeded in delivering a visual treat and a fascinating story but has taken his eye off the ball with regard to its dramatic heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 9 Sep 2013
By 
JazzFeathers (Verona - Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Changeling [DVD] (DVD)
Friends of mine told me this was a good film. They recommended it warmly. And I still didn't expect it to be *this* good.
The story in itself is incredible enough, I mean, of course it deserves to be recount as a story (all the events actually happened in 1920s Los Angeles). But what gripped me was the execution.
The setting is so accurate and so vivid you really think to be there. The pace of the film is just right. There isn't much action, because this is mostly an intimate story, but emotions comes to the viewer so strongly - through events and characters' actions and reactions that are always logic and never over the top - that you naturally feel involved. You naturally feel for this mother.

But I think what really involved me in the story so much are the characters and the actors.
All the actors are outstanding, in my opinion, no matter how long or short they appeared on the screen. I liked John Malkovich and Michael Kelly in particular, although they both appear on screen for limited time (Kelly only appears in the very last part of the film).
But it's Angelina Jolie's performance that really stayed with me. She was intense as Christine Collins, this single mother that fights against everyone to get her child back. She was always demurred, never over the top, and still so emotionally invested that this viewer could only root for her from start to end.

Warmly recommended.
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46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Relentlessly bleak, 29 Nov 2008
By 
This review is from: Changeling [DVD] (DVD)
Angelina Jolie gives a storming performance as a single mother, in 1928 Los Angeles, whose 9 year old son goes missing. This is based on a part of the true story of the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, and not "based on" in that slightly tenuous way that's rife within Hollywood - it pretty much chronicles the way it happened, down to the minor details.

The Los Angeles Police Department back then was corrupt, but not in the way we understand corruption in this day and age. They were crime lords, in control of prostitutes and drugs, and the Chief of Police created a unit called the "Gun Squad". Essentially, a group of machine-gun toting animals who openly murdered anyone who was competition, and did so while wearing the badge - no fuss no muss, no investigations, no questions asked.

So when this very dangerous, very corrupt police department organise a very public reunion between Christine Collins and her son, and she sees that the boy in front of her isn't her own, where can she turn? The rest of the movie attempts to answer that question. It fails, though. Not because the movie fails, but because the system - such as it was - failed in 1928.

When her child first went missing, she was met with indifference and red tape by the authorities; she was left to wander the streets looking for him for 24 hours. It's unimaginable given today's culture and response when it comes to the safety of our children.

We're used to seeing scenes where the house is filled to capacity; police file in and out constantly, the FBI comfort the parents while tapping the phones, and Family Liaison Officers stay 24 hours a day to lend support. That's what we're used to, and that's what we expect, so to see her completely alone, unable to get people's attention, is a genuine shock to the system. By the same token, today we have DNA testing, independent review boards and investigations into corruption within statuatory bodies, sexual equality where women are no longer the overly emotional "little lady"... and seeing how different it was then, how different it would have been for this woman, is truly awful. And when you see her having to share her home with this stranger instead of her child, it makes you feel claustrophobic and trapped on her behalf.

The film is *beautiful* to look at. The colour green features heavily, and most scenes are flooded with natural light (both of which very cleverly add to the feeling of disorientation and panic because if we're not safe when it's green, and wide open and in the light, when are we safe?) Equally, LA looks stunning - the 20s was a beautiful period aesthetically, and Clint Eastwood (he directed) absolutely revels in it. It's sumptuous - a visually awesome example of a rotting core beneath a sublime exterior.

But despite its beauty, Changeling is bleak, and cold, and a degree of hopelessness will stay with you for a long while after the credits have rolled.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars probably the best film i've ever seen, 12 Feb 2011
By 
s "s" (north west) - See all my reviews
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I don't like Angelina Jolie and find Clint Eastwood Productions are often superficial,watchable but lacking depth.On both counts,this film proved me wrong.It was with some trepidation that myself and my wife sat down to watch this film.From the first moment to the last,in excess of two hours,it grips you and you won't want to miss a minute.Based on a true story of a working mum who leaves her Son to go work and returns home to find him gone.The film is set in the 1920's and the attention to detail is amazing.The LAPD are corrupt and manufacture a situation that they hope will stop them having to search for yet another missing boy.The acting and script are superb and Blu-ray just adds to the film.There are many twists and turns to ensure you can't predict what will happen next.Highly recommended,i can't remember watching a better,more engrossing film.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, 10 May 2010
By 
Mr. Ar Benney (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Changeling [DVD] (DVD)
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This is one of the best films I have seen in a very long time mainly because it is a true story based in reality. It has some really scary moments and it's very difficult to predict the end. Its one of those films you want to definitely want to see more than once well produced great music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 26 April 2014
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This review is from: Changeling [DVD] (DVD)
What an amazing movie, true story and a great performance I would highly recommend it to anyone as its so incredible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!, 5 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Changeling [DVD] (DVD)
it's an amazing film and I would recommend it to anyone

it's a real eye opener and will have you on the edge of your seat!

Thank you
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changeling (DVD), 25 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Changeling [DVD] (DVD)
As with almost all of Clint Eastwood's films, this one in particular really reaches your heart. You leave your reality and enter a new world. It's heartbreaking to think that this film is based on a true story, all that the mother went through and that she never stopped looking for her child.
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Changeling
Changeling by Clint Eastwood (DVD)
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