MOVIE REVIEW: “Changeling”

By Emily Hoover |

Clint Eastwood will forever be celebrated for his ability as an actor, to create classic characters and immortalize film. Over the past five years, he has exhibited these same principles, and so much more, behind the camera. His films “Mystic River,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” inspired critical acclaim. “Changeling,” a fictionalized account of a heart-breaking true crime story, is no exception.

The story begins in 1928 in Los Angeles. Christine Collins (executed beautifully by Angelina Jolie), a single mother and telephone switchboard supervisor, comes home late from work one day to find that her nine-year-old son Walter (Gattlin Griffith) is missing. Collins entrusts the treacherous LAPD, governed by Captain J.J. Jones (Jeffrey Donovan), with the task of finding her son and bringing him home.

Five months pass and the police produce a boy who matches the description of Walter. Only he’s not.

To mitigate bad press and repair their soiled reputation, the police try to discredit Collins; they eventually have her committed to a psychiatric ward. With the moral support of a fellow patient (the captivating Amy Ryan) as well as aid from evangelical preacher Gustav Briegleb (portrayed effortlessly by John Malkovich) Collins succeeds in giving justice to the system. However, at the same time, she fights for her son, who may, or may not, be a victim of a sadistic serial killer.

Eastwood’s vision in “Changeling” is impeccable. He recreates old Hollywood, examines corruption, and illustrates the human struggle in a way that is both satisfying and profound. Complete with suspense and emotion, this film reels in its viewers. Moreover, the casting only heightens Eastwood’s theme of good versus evil.

This film is both gritty and light; it is disturbing and inspiring. It seems that no matter the time period, or Eastwood’s age, his films remain fresh; they will forever be inked in the minds of viewers everywhere.

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