In The Changeling (2008), Angelina Jolie plays Christine Collins, a pre-depression era single mom whose only child (Gattlin Griffith) was kidnapped. The L.A. police return a boy that is not her son, they know it, and they expect her to raise this strange boy pretending it to be her son. These plot elements are revealed within the first 15 minutes of the movie.
I couldn’t get past how preposterous the story was. I wondered to the end … how could a Hollywood script writer, write such a thing, how could Clint Eastwood agree to direct it, or Ron Howard produce it?
It turns out the movie was based on a true story! Yikes! I still find it hard to believe. Had I known this I likely would have appreciated the movie more. As it was I couldn’t get the idea out of my head how ludicrous it was.
After the 90 minute mark, not much happened. The movie limped along for another, rather boring, 50 minutes to the end. Clint Eastwood is a good director. The movie is beautiful to watch. From a directorial standpoint the first 90 minutes was very good – not so much after that.
Jolie received a Best Actress nomination for this performance. For the reasons stated above, I couldn’t ‘get into’ the movie. I didn’t appreciate her performance as much as I would have had I though the story plausible. Her acting was terrific. The forced incarceration performance reminded me very much of her previous work in Girl, Interrupted (1999). A terrific performance.
Happily, John Malkovich didn’t play his usual self-centered, petulant role. However, playing a preacher with a radio-show, he didn’t personally add much to the movie either. Any actor could have played that role.
Jason Butler Harner was terrific. He played as psycho’s psycho! His performance was outstandingly creepy!
It’s hard for me to recommend this film given how implausible the plot was. I suspect, however, that if you go into it knowing it is a true story (as true as a Hollywood film can be that is), the movie may be more satisfying – if not for the sheer amazement that such a series of events could have actually happened.