Angelina Jolie stars as a single mother in 1920’s Los Angeles whose son is kidnapped and then returned to her, but it’s not her son.
Film making 24/25
Bonus Features 10/25
Changeling is the incredible true story of Christine Collins and her fight for the truth through incredibly corrupt officials to find her true son. Her son is kidnapped while she is off to work and when he is returned, police insist it is her son.
Christine is fighting everyday to provide for her and her son working hard at her job as a supervisor at a telephone switchboard. She leaves one day to work some extra hours and comes home to find her son missing, police at first do not believe her and eventually find her son.
But when they bring him in on a train she meets him only to discover it is not her son Walter, she tells the detective and he tells her that she is confused and to try him out for a few days. She is speechless and does not know what to do while the detective has the newsmen take her picture, reuniting her with her son.
Christine is convinced Walter is not really her son when she sees his height compared to the marks on her door jamb at home that she just the other day marked with his growth. “Walter” is inches shorter than the current height mark as well as being circumcised which her son was not, now she has proof but the police cannot have the embarrassment brought to the public.
The Los Angeles Police Department has had several bad incidents and the Police Chief informs the detective handling the case to do whatever it takes to keep the incident from becoming another embarrassment to the department. Captain J.J. Jones, played by Jeffrey Donovan, gets a doctor to refute Christine’s claims that Walter is a different boy and ends up having her taken to a psychiatric hospital for observation.
The police have trucked off many people who buck the system or embarrass the police department by having them sent to the same hospital and Christine is befriended by several while there. Reverend Gustav Briegleb, John Malkovich, plays an important role as a radio evangelist out to uncover and bring to justice the authorities who are responsible for the continued corruption in the police department.
The reverend ends up finding out Christine has been taken to the hospital and rescues her by showing the Doctor in charge a newspaper story recently published about a gruesome murder scene involving several boys. The scene is uncovered when a boy that confessed to police shows them where he and a man who had kidnapped him had slaughtered several children before a few of them escaped.
The boy’s confession also includes a few boys that have been missing from the area, one of them being identified as Walter, Christine’s son. Christine with the help of Reverend Briegleb ends the police corruption and their sending people to the hospital who try to expose the police corruption in any form and have the hospital investigated federally.
Christine does not find her son, he did escape from the farm where the kidnapped boys were being held and she does not know what happened to him. The day before his execution, the kidnapper confides in his jailers that he wants to tell Christine that he killed her son but he changes his mind and says nothing to her but pleads for his life.
Christine watches him hang the next day for killing numerous boys and the kidnappings but Christine still does not know whether her son Walter is alive or not. Years later in 1935 one of the boys that escaped that night comes forward and tells police that Walter did escape that night but they were separated and he does not know if Walter did successfully escape or not.
Changeling is a fantastic story about the corruption and political clout the police had at the time and how females had so very little power or authority in any way refered to as disempowerment. This true story brought to film of course is going to have some more dramatic and stretched truth but the film does a great job of showing the actual events of the kidnapping, police corruption and the disempowerment of women of the time period.
The film has been nominated for three academy awards and a host of other awards with a few wins here and there, better praise for a good film could not be had from such a wide range of awards and in so many different categories. The film is great and very thought provoking about what women had to go through at the time just to be heard in a world dominated by men.
The Blu-ray edition of Changeling includes a making of feature and a feature about Angelina Jolie becoming Christine Collins as well as some U Control in movie bonus content but that’s all. The film does not have much in the way of extras but does contain a well made film that is great in high definition audio and video for a great entertainment experience.
While there isn’t really enough here in extras for the cost of the Blu-ray the movie is well worth it in the great costumes and well made period scenes along with a well made film that is very moving. If you don’t want to shell out the money for the better high definition experience at least get the movie or rent it, it is one that is well worth watching at least once.
I think Angelina Jolie put it best in the bonus feature, she could not believe that this type of corruption could even occur and just had to tell people about it even before it hit the big screen. Changeling is a great film and well worth watching, one of those must see to believe films and well worth watching.