Last night Fionna and I went to go see Changeling after having a pit stop at the Bloor Street Diner (very helpful in letting you get to the movie on time). First off, after cancelling (or not renewing) my EW subscription because I'm trying to be more fiscally responsible (and the redesign sucked; and I don't ever care about the Jonas Brothers) and I get plenty of magazines through work, I feel very left out of the whole pop culture world. So when I saw the trailers for this film I sort of thought that there was a supernatural element to the film -- you know, because it's called Changeling. But there's not, and because I don't want to give away the gist of the film, I'll just leave that observation at that.
Angelina Jolie plays Christine Collins, a single mother living in the 1920s in Los Angeles. She works for a telegraph / telephone company. She raises her son, Walter. She gives sage advice: "Never start a fight but always finish them." And explains that her husband left after opening up a big box of responsibility he just wasn't prepared to face. Torn between her responsibility at work and spending the day with her son, who is her whole world, Christine goes into work one day only to discover upon her return home that her son's missing. The police are called. Weeks go by and then he's returned to her in a glorious (and heavily photographed moment) by the L.A.P.D.
Only there's just one catch: he's not her son. He's three inches sorter and antatomically, ahem, different in many, many ways. And the more the police want her to say that it's her son, the more she resists. She kicks up just enough fuss that the missing children chief simply tosses her into the looney bin because she won't play along. Shocking, abhorrent, and utterly upsetting, despite her treatment in the hospital, she refuses all along to sign a paper saying that the boy the police returned was indeed her son.
It's a complex, long film that not only addresses the mistakes the police made with respect to her case, but also the legal and sociological ramifications of their actions. Jolie's excellent, but she usually is, and her role in this reminds me a lot of A Mighty Heart rather than her more kick-ass-type characters. All in all there's just something about a Clint Eastwood picture: they're a little bit too long but they never drag; he elicits strong performances from his actors, especially the ladies; and they just seem to wholly embody the time and place they're representing. The art direction, the costumes, the general tone of speech -- were all pitch-perfect.
Honestly, I enjoyed this picture so much more than I thought I would. Kind of like Pride and Glory. Huh, eh?