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Changeling (2008)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 175,767 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 370 user | 254 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Changeling (2008)

Changeling (2008) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 40 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 (292) »

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:

£1,225,548 (UK) (28 November 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 fate of Sanford Clark, the 13-year-old boy who was forced by his uncle, Gordon Northcutt, to participate in some of the Wineville Murders, is not mentioned in the film. After leading the police to the bodies at his uncle's farm, Clark was sentenced to five years at Whittier Boys School in California. A sympathetic L.A. District Attorney, Loyal Kelly, later had Clark's sentence reduced to 23 months after the school reported that Clark showed promising job skills and a genuine desire to reform. Clark returned to Canada, where he served in the Canadian military during World War II, and later worked as a mailman for 28 years. He married, adopted and raised two children, and served local community causes throughout his life. Sanford Clark died in 1991. See more »

Goofs

Jeffrey Donovan's left ear is pierced, which was not acceptable for a police officer anywhere in 1928. 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Big Bang Theory: The Killer Robot Instability (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Eastwood and Angeline deliver a strong punch
2 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There is nothing more reliable than Eastwood behind the camera, with his assured touch his films are never boring or deliberately confusing, hiding technical devices or special effects that detract from the most important part of movie making: a good screenplay, a good story, good acting. For the past 10 years, many films have been unduly praised because they have one or two great performances, unfairly leaving many good and deserving movies without the recognition they deserved. Eastwood has however, given us the whole package time after time, with movies as varied as "Mystic River", "Letters", "Million Dollar Baby" and now "Changeling". True, there is a link, they are all strong films, with themes that deal with pain and loss, but the stories are different, the settings require an amazing attention to detail, what they all share is a strong focus, and interestingly enough, superb performances.

Eastwood has paved the way to acting honors for Penn, Freeman, Swank, Hackman, and others that were continuously ignored by the Academy. There is no denying the power of their performances in Eastwood's movies, and that leads to the center of this film: Jolie. I read recently that her performance has been attacked as being affected and the attempt of a star to look normal. Putting aside those silly and biased remarks, let's state something clearly, the lady has given us a fantastic tour de force, proving that she can be both a star when looking at the other cameras, but that when she is working for a director, she gives her best, regardless of what our perception of her private life might be. If you are a critic with a personal disapproval of that persona, keep it to yourself, concentrate on the film and the work of the performer.

As the mother who desperately wants the truth about her child, Angelina is flawless. We can read the pain in her eyes, the determination and the disturbing reality that her obsession might be having unexpected results, but one thing is clear, there is a drive that won't quit, and it's admirable for those of us who want her to be reunited with her child, and it's quite inconvenient for the people who have other interests at hand.

Her battle with the folks at LAPD is of epic proportions, and it is amazing that she held on to her goal of exposing the corruption that she encountered as she searched for her missing boy. There are some horrific moments in the film, as we relieve some of the injustices and Gothic horror of places like the hospital in this film. There are also some background scene that might or not reveal what really happen. There are moments when one is a bit exhausted from all the information the film delivers, but every moment is worth it. It is all framed with an expert hand, and it is anchored by the very powerful work by Jolie and the rest of an amazing cast that brings to life emotions such as madness, anger, pain, sorrow, and many times, disbelief that humans can be capable of such terrible actions.

The film contains amazing production values, as we are taken back to an era that doesn't exist anymore. The recreation of the time Los Angeles was on its way to being a real city is incredible, as we see it before it fell apart and spread all over a gigantic geographical area, losing its identity. The musical score is a sweet melody that hints at the love and pain themes in the film, and there are some moments bound to become classic, as children tell the stories that adults might not want to face or believe.

All in all, "Changeling" may be very difficult to sit through, but it is not less impressive, effective or good than any of the last five films Eastwood has made. As a matter of fact, it's just one masterpiece from the man who could teach Hollywood a few lessons.


261 of 339 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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
One missing thing that would have cleared things up david-seerup
The boy saying the police told him to say he was Walter zackayotte
The Music is Crap hermanowen-1
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