Based on a true and definitely incredible story, Clint Eastwood’s new motion picture Changeling is set in an apparently immaculate and flourishing Los Angeles of the late 1920s, with a hidden substratum of corruption and uncomfortable secrets.
The story begins when Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) discovers her son Walter has gone missing. After the LAPD has uselessly attempted to find Christine’s son, in order to save its already stained reputation, the police department decides to give her another child, trying in any way to pretend they had found Walter. She is then left totally alone, with a child which is not hers, fighting against a world seemingly undefeatable. She is silenced. She is believed insane and she is tortured by sadistic “psychiatrists”. But still, she doesn’t want to quit her struggle to find her missing child.
This is a story about good and evil and the thin line that many times blurs these two concepts, about endurance and human dignity. On one side there is a corrupt police department which, in an attempt to save its reputation, allows a monster and psychopathic child murderer to continue his brutal actions. On the other side a few people fight for justice, among them, a pastor who comes to help Christine, played by an always surprisingly talented John Malkovich.
Director Clint Eastwood confronts themes which are as poignant as child violence, loss of innocence and inhumanity by showing them though the persevering eyes of a mother who never surrenders. The main strength of the movie lies in the story itself. Sometimes in fact, true stories can surpass the fiction in terms of fantasy. Only a true story could have been so thematically rich and deep. However regardless of how important the plot is, the style of narration used by Clint Eastwood definitely proves that he has reached an incredible ability to merge music (he was also the composer) and photography with the atmosphere of the story. The true great acknowledgement goes to the fact that Eastwood did not dramatize too much something already too tragic, making it look as genuine as possible. In this aspect Angelina Jolie is astonishingly perfect within the historical and social context as she proves to be great for the role, making us wish she chose more to play these roles rather than interpreting such static and unchallenging characters as in Beowulf.