A grief-stricken mother takes on the LAPD to her own detriment when it stubbornly tries to pass off an obvious impostor as her missing child, while also refusing to give up hope that she will find him one day.

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Operator
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Operator
Antonia Bennett ...
Operator
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Operator
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Ben Harris
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Girl on Tricycle
Madison Hodges ...
Neighborhood Girl
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Devon Conti ...
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Man at Diner
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Storyline

Los Angeles, 1928. A single mother returns from work to find her nine-year-old son gone. She calls the LAPD to initiate a search. Five months later, a boy is found in Illinois who fits the description; he says he's her son. To fanfare and photos, the LAPD reunite mother and son, but she insists he's not her boy. The cops dismiss her as either a liar or hysterical. When she joins a minister in his public criticism of the police, they in turn use government power to silence and intimidate her. Meanwhile, a cop goes to a dilapidated ranch to find a Canadian lad who's without legal status; the youth tells a grisly tale. There's redress for murder; is there redress for abuse of power? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | police | lapd | telephone | train | See All (287) »

Taglines:

To find her son, she did what no one else dared.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violent and disturbing content, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El sustituto  »

Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$489,015 (USA) (24 October 2008)

Gross:

£4,693,773 (UK) (2 January 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

| (opening and end sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title refers to a European folk legend. Supposedly, fairies, elves, trolls, or even the devil would occasionally steal young children from their cradles, and leave a false child - a "changeling" - in its place. The changeling would grow sick and die, or exhibit bad behavior as it grew up, while the real child would supposedly become the slave of those who took it, and would never be seen again by its parents. The "changeling" legend was sometimes used to explain infant deaths or disorders such as mental retardation or autism in children. See more »

Goofs

Rev. Gustav is a Presbyterian minister, but the arrangement of the deep chancel area in his church is not a Presbyterian layout. It was likely filmed at an Episcopal church. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Christine Collins: Walter, honey. Time to wake up.
Walter Collins: Just ten more minutes...
Christine Collins: Sorry, sport. You can sleep in tomorrow, that's what Saturdays are for.
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Crazy Credits

The black-and-white Universal logo used in the 1940s opens the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Movie Mistakes (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Interesting period piece
2 November 2008 | by (Phoenix, AZ) – See all my reviews

Watching this film is like taking a look back in time. Everything is picture perfect, the beautiful automobiles, the red electric street cars, the telephones, the switchboard station with roller-skating supervisors, the house appliances, and the outstanding clothing, from dresses to hats to police uniforms, everything is meticulously detailed. The story, which we are told is true, is complex and multifaceted. Angelina Jolie, who plays Christine Collins, gives an outstanding performance as a single mother who returns home from work to find that her son is missing. This puts into motion a series of events that exposes the reality of what Los Angeles society was really like in the late 1920's. Corrupt Police, uncaring and self absorbed mental health professionals and the basic premise that people left to their own ambitions will do anything to secure their own prosperity. Although this paints a bleak picture of the human condition, the film show that the actions of a few good men can make a world of difference, John Malkovich as Reverend Gustav Briegleb, is determined to expose the corrupt Police in his radio talk show, Michael Kelly as detective Lester Ybarra, although hampered by his superiors, uncovers what really happened to the boy and the unlikely hero, a powerful attorney who takes her case pro-bono comes to her rescue. If indeed this is a true story, then to see these people stand up to the powers that be is a ray of hope to all of us that there were people who were strong and principled. We can only hope that there are still people like that out there today.


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Recent Posts
Axe scene....a step to far? sarahparsons334
Why is it called changeling? charlimcbean
There is nothing reasonable or credible in this film. danieligarza
The Music is Crap hermanowen-1
One missing thing that would have cleared things up david-seerup
The boy saying the police told him to say he was Walter zackayotte
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