Box art for Changeling

Changeling

drama


Clint Eastwood directs Oscar winner Angelina Jolie and Oscar nominee John Malkovich in a riveting and unforgettable true story.This emotionally gripping story illustrates the profound power of a mother's love.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    63%
  • Audience Score
    82%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Consumerism
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
0 out of 5
Violence
4 out of 5

Suspenseful, overlong drama isn't meant for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this 1920s-set drama recounts real-life events that could be quite disturbing to children and young teens. It examines the disappearance of a young boy who was likely murdered; some upsetting scenes show what might have been his ghastly misfortune. There are some gory images, and wrongfully imprisoned women are treated very badly in a psych ward. Authority figures are unreliable and commit betrayals, and there's some mild swearing (including a few uses of "f--k") and period-accurate smoking.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. What does it say about people in positions of authority? Is the implication that all such people are unreliable, or just the characters in the movie? Why do you think Christine was betrayed the way she was? Do you think something like this could happen today? How would you characterize director Clint Eastwood's approach to telling this story? Families can also discuss the film's accuracy. Why might filmmakers bend the truth when making a movie based on real life? How could you find out more about Christine's case if you wanted to?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    63%
    reviews counted: 21
    see all Changeling reviews
  • Audience

    82%

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: When it works best, Changeling is a feverish and bluntly effective parable of wronged innocence.

- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Friday, October 24, 2008

Rotten: It is a misfire, a silly and borderline absurd story that cannot excuse its twists and turns with the simple 'a true story' declaration that opens the film.

- Adam Graham, Detroit News, Friday, October 31, 2008

Fresh: Changeling is a fine-enough movie. It's just that it's aware of the fact, and neither Eastwood nor Jolie ever lets the audience forget it.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Thursday, October 30, 2008

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Clint Eastwood sure knows good drama. Again and again he delivers some very powerful stuff. Jolie, who has grown to become one of my favourite actresses, gives it her all and leaves no heart unaffected. Her performance has been accused of being Oscar-grubbing, but I found her acting very convincing and authentic. Usually I have no interest in dramas set in this sort of time period, but in the hands of Eastwood, it became something else entirely. A gripping and tragic tale of loss, murder, corruption and great injustice, that kept me at the edge of my seat right through to the end.

- CloudStrife84, Thursday, October 28, 2010

4 stars

Clint Eastwood delivers yet another solid drama film. Changeling is the incredible and sad true story of the Gordon Northcott Chicken coop murders of 1928 and the disappearance of Christine Collins son. Clint Eastwood is a terrific director, and he tells a powerful story with Changeling. I've seen many of his films, and this is one of the best films he has ever directed. Eastwood has a wonderful ability to tell a poignant, dramatic story, and in Changeling he does just that. Angelina Jolie plays Christine Collins, who's son, Walter has been kidnapped. No one knows who did, but Walter mysteriously reappears. The corrupt police officials tell her it's her son, but do to the fact that Walter is circumcised (the real one isn't) She goes out of her way to try to find her son, and expose the corruption and incompetence of the LAPD. She is aided by Rev. Gustav Briegleb who has spent his time exposing the corruption of the LAPD. Christine Collins is later committed to a mental hospital. It's only later till the truth about Walter's Kidnapping comes out. Walter Collins has been kidnapped by Gordon Stewart Northcott. Clint Eastwood's basis for Changeling is the Winnville Chicken Coop Murders of 1928. Changeling is a very interesting story. Eastwood has crafted a unique drama film with a sense of mystery to it. Angelina Jolie gives the best performance of her career (if you look at her track record, you'll know what I'm talking about) John Malkovich gives a stunning performance as well. Changeling is an amazing drama film, but it's hard to watch due to the subject matter. However if you're looking for a well told story with great acting, and directing; then Changeling is a must see. This is one of Clint Eastwood's best efforts as a director, and it shows that he still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve to tell a good story on film.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Monday, October 11, 2010

3 stars

"He's not my son." Legendary Clint Eastwood is one of the most productive filmmakers beginning of the change of the millennieum. Changeling was his 7th film in 8 years and Eastwood is still going stong at 80 years of age. 'Changeling' was a film that he chose to direct instantly after reading the script written by J. Michael Straczynski ('Babylon 5' TV series!). The film is based on real events that occured in Los Angeles back in 1928. Angelina Jolie plays Christine Collins whose child, Walter, has been missing. Several months after Walter's disapperiance, she gets a call from the LAPD that informs her that her child has been found. To her surprise, the kid that she meets is not, according to her, Walter but an impostor. Christine tries to assure people that the kid is not hers but by going public with it all, the head of the LAPD'S Juvenile Division, Captain Jones, sends her to the psych ward for "treatment". Collins gets help from reverend Briegleb (John Malkovich), the only person that seems to believe her... First of all, before I write my ending to this review, I gotta say that the production design crew have done an unbelievable job on giving 'Changeling' the look that it has. I've read from a Finnish magazine that a lot of work was done with computers but the interior sets look very realistic. The clothing, make up department and set design are all top-notch. 'Changeling' is an interesting story about political corruption during the time of depression in the 30's. The story gets going very well, but the same faults are here as in most of Eastwood's movies, the length of the film. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike long movies, in fact most of my favourite movies have a duration lasting over 120 mins, but 'Changeling' drags on way too long. The time when the film comes to its dramatical high point, Eastwood just doesn't know how to end it all. During the last 30 mins or so, Eastwood comes up with several possible and logical endings. The fact that the viewers already have gotten to know what it all was really about a long time before the end credits, only backs up this argument. Why you should see this movie? I come up with several reasons. First of all the story is interesting, the acting is high-class (especially Angelina Jolie) and in overall it all looks real good. Eastwood is a fine filmmaker but I only wish that the would've thought harder on how to end the film. But for a one time viewing, 'Changeling' is a sure bet.

- TheMachinist, Tuesday, August 10, 2010