HASH(0xb201800) Reviews

HASH(0xb201800)

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To Find Your Son, What Would You NOT Do? CHANGELING.

Mar 21, 2009 (Updated Mar 22, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Brilliant, moving and beautiful in everyway.  Oscar worthy performances. 

Cons:Deeply disturbing, and sometimes hard to watch.

The Bottom Line:

As you watch this (and everyone SHOULD watch this) remember; this is a true story.  It all really happened.


Changeling (2008) Directed by Clint Eastwood, written my J. Michael Straczynski

"I used to tell Walter, "Never start a fight... but always finish it." I didn't start this fight... but by G*d, I'm going to finish it."  Christine Collins.

This is the story of Christine Collins, and her son Walter.  Christine was a single mother, having been abandoned by Walter's father.  She raised her son as best she could, working as a supervisor for the phone company.  Then one day, Walter went missing.

The police were less than helpful; it is a sad necessity but no missing child case is started until 24 hours have elapsed.  Otherwise police would do little other than search for misplaced children.  However, five months later, they were happy to announce they had found Walter.

There is just one problem.  The boy is not Walter.

However, when Mrs. Collins points this out, she is assured that it is just the deprivations of the past five months that have changed his appearance.  Certainly the boy says he is Walter Collins.

Yet what mother does not know her child?  And this boy is three inches shorter, lacks the space between his teeth Walter had, and is circumcised.

Yet when she protests to the police that they have the wrong boy, instead, they work to assure her SHE is mistaken.  This is Walter Collins.  When she insists, they call on experts.   Science must know better than she.

Mrs. Collins is not a bold woman of this century; but she is a mother, and her child is missing.  She gathers her own experts; Walter's dentist, and his teacher, who is certainly no fool.  But all of her efforts have an effect the opposite of the one she is seeking.

Thanks to her questions, and the attention given to them by the Reverend Briegleb, a Presbyterian minister with an axe to grind about police corruption and a radio show to give his words a wide audience, Christine Collins has become an embarrassment to the LAPD, and Captain J.J. Jones in particular.  He instead accuses her of so enjoying her time away from the responsibility of raising her son that she is trying to foist him off on the state.  She refuses to acknowledge that the child given to her by the police is her son.  So, he has her committed to the county mental asylum.

It quickly becomes apparent to her that she is not the only woman in the facility who is there because she is ‘inconvenient'.  There is a classification; Code 12.  That means the police want you ‘treated' so you can't cause problems.  The callous disregard for civil rights and basic human dignity is appalling.  Mental Health has come a long way, but only recently.

Then there is a break in the case.  Another dislocated boy, Sandford Clark, tells a chilling tale of mass murder and abuse out on a Wineville farm, by a man named Gordon Stewart Northcott.  And he identifies Walter Collins as one of the boys who was there.

And still, the LAPD tried to hide the truth.  But a funny thing about the truth, the tighter you grip it, the more it struggles to get free.

The Cast
 Angelina Jolie ...  Christine Collins (Oscar Nominee.)
 Gattlin Griffith ...  Walter Collins
 John Malkovich ...  Rev. Gustav A. Briegleb
 Colm Feore ...  Chief James E. Davis
 Devon Conti ...  Arthur Hutchins (the Changeling)
 Jeffrey Donovan ...  Capt. J.J. Jones
 Michael Kelly ...  Detective Lester Ybarra
 Jason Butler Harner ...  Gordon Stewart Northcott
 Eddie Alderson ...  Sanford Clark
Denis O'Hare ...  Dr. Jonathan Steele

The more I see of Clint Eastwood as a director, the more I think he is wasted as an actor, and this is from a man who thinks very highly of him.  The cinematography was Oscar nominated, the world was so flawless, it too was nominated, Art and Set Direction.

And there were many other brilliant performances, Malkovich as Rev. Briegleb, Denis O'Hare as the Machiavellian Dr. Steele, but the hands down best performance; (outside Jolie's) was Jason Butler Harner as the creepy Gordon Stewart Northcott.  He did not strive to portray his evil; he instead channeled his dysfunction, his unctuous smarmy self pitying/self aggrandizing sickness.  It flat creeped me out.  Bravo, sir, bravo.

This movie is a wonderful testament to the skill of many people, mostly Eastwood, Straczynski, and Jolie.  It is a testament of what Hollywood can do when it decides to hold to high ideals of quality.  And it has one other value...

...this story was based on true events.  Almost every scene is supported by court and police documents, even dialogue are drawn from the records.  Christine Collins was a real woman, and this really happened to her, in America.  Think about that.


Recommend this product? Yes

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