Saturday, 26 June 2010

Changeling Film Review

I was really interested in this when I first heard about it, which was near the time I watched "A Might Heart", in which Angelina Jolie plays a woman looking for her husband. This time, in Changeling, she is looking for her missing son. I finally got the DVD and watched it!

Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) returns from work one day to find her son is missing. With help from the police, she is one day reunited with her son. Only it isn't her son, and she continues to fight to find him. The police tries to manipulate her, with extreme results. Elsewhere, boys were being abducted and killed by Gordon Northcott, with Christine's son, Walter amongst them but his survival is unknown.Christine's hope and strength leads her to overhaul and change the corruption that is found in the police force.

I was initially put off by the long two hour plus length of the film. Having seen it, at no point do you really get bored or wonder how long there is left to finish. The film pulls you in straight away. Whilst some films will drag out the beginning, this film instantly intrigues, with Walter's abduction within 10 minutes of the film starting.

We can see instantly the motherly pain of Christine and her plight for her son's return. When her "son" is returned to her, who isn't actually her son, the emotion that is expressed is genuine and believable. This is the same throughout. We are taken through an extreme emotional journey that comes through in a wide range of settings, which really reflect the time it was set (around 20s-30s).
The themes found through the film are strong and focussed, including the roles of men and women, where women are inferior, emotion-driven and powerless; and the corruption of the police, government and social heirarchy. The manipulation that is placed upon Christine Collins is unheard of today, and we can really feel and relate to her fight for justice.

But what I love most of all is the ending. Whilst most of the loose ends are tied, the return or survival of Christine's son is never known from the movie, giving a message of hope. What she also did was overturn the government and political corruption; and represent a woman of power.

Christine Collins- Angelina Jolie
Detective Ybarra- Michael Kelly
Rev Gustav Briegleb- John Malkovich

Also stars Jeffrey Donovan, Gattlin Griffith and Devon Conti.

The film received three Oscar nominations and eight Bafta nominations, both included Best Actress. Angelina Jolie did a fantastic job, and again, having seen A Mighty Heart, I thought it was a great fit. She was much better in this though. The emotion and persona she conveyed felt genuine and true, perhaps because she is a mother herself.

Apparently, Reese Witherspoon and Hilary Swank were also interested in the role, but really neither of them would have done the film justice compared to Angelina Jolie, and I'm glad they picked her.

The other characters were not really given enough a role to stand out, but they made appropriate supports to Angelina Jolie's role as Christine Collins.

The film was fantastic and very focussed. The side stories that stem from the main plot receive appropriate closure, whilst the main story of Christine's plight for her son is left open and gives sign of hope. Despite its length, the intrigue builds and maintains throughout so you are never bored. Angelina Jolie does a fantastic job as Christine Collins and deserve her award nominations! This is highly recommended!

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