(No longer in theaters)
Clint Eastwood, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Oct 24, 2008
Clint Eastwood’s Changeling is based on the true story of Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), a single mother whose young son disappeared in 1928 and was returned six months later—at least, the Los Angeles Police Department said it was her son. She didn’t recognize him, which irritated the patriarchal and corrupt police captain so much he threw her into a mental hospital. It would be a horrific story even if underplayed, but Eastwood shoots it like a horror movie. The false boy is lit to resemble the Antichrist Damien in The Omen, while in the psychiatric ward, whey-faced loons press their heads against the bars and shriek, ugly nurses leer, and the creepy doctor plots to throw Angie on a gurney and give her jolts of electricity. The ham-handed script by J. Michael Straczynski rearranges events so that the motives of the police captain (Jeffrey Donovan) are unfathomable—he must want Damien to grow up and bring forth Armageddon. The way Eastwood shoves Jolie’s suffering in our face is like a threat to the Academy: “And the Oscar will go to … ” She’s a great actress. She doesn’t need his domineering chivalry.