Changeling is the true story of Christine Collins in 1920s Los Angeles. She exposed the LAPD when they tried to pawn a boy off as her missing son. Clint Eastwood puts his stamp on the film, filling each scene with heartache and tension, making you feel this mother's every emotion. Angelina Jolie is phenomenal as Christine Collins and Jeffrey Donovan is evil as the corrupt police captain J.J. Jones.
Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie)'s son Walter (Gattlin Griffith) has gone missing. Five months pass by and the LAPD tell her that they have found her boy. But when she sees her long lost son, she realizes that it is not him. When she questions the police about this, Captain J.J. Jones (Jeffrey Donovan) tells her that she is mistaken. He even provides a doctor to confirm that this boy is indeed her son. Christine takes matter into her own hands with the help of Rev. Gustaf Briegleb (John Malkovich). She finds her own witnesses who will testify that he is not her son. She contacts the press. But the day that she is to provide the proof, the Captain has her secretly declared an unfit mother and has her committed. Meanwhile, one of the Captain's men picks up a boy who might have clues to the missing Walter Collins.
The story is based on a true story. It is very sad to see how the women were treated back then, along with what the police were allowed to get away with. It's frustrating, heart wrenching, and bittersweet all rolled into one. It takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. Angelina Jolie is amazing. Her Christine appears on the surface to be timid and overly emotional. But her actions show how strong she is. Jeffrey Donovan as the man who will stop at nothing to prove that she is wrong is cold hearted and ruthless. His repeated refusal to believe Christine turns nasty when he yells at her and challenges her to continue her quest to prove the LAPD wrong.
What that leads to shows how serious he is to stop her. The look of 1928 Los Angeles in spot on. From the wardrobe, to the buildings, to the train station. All muted colors set the mood of hopelessness (save for Christine's bright red lipstick).
This is a very depressing and dark story set in early 20th century Los Angeles. A strong woman takes on the LAPD when they try to pass an impostor off as her missing son. Angelina Jolie brings strength and emotion to this woman who will stop at nothing to find her son. Clint Eastwood showcases his talent by bringing this tragic story to film, by making an impression that stays long after it is over.