Monday, May 04, 2009

Movie Review: The Changling

We're a bit behind the times when it comes to new releases. That being said, if anyone else has yet to see this movie... I would recommend NOT seeing it, especially if you happen to be a parent. This movie caused me and/or Charlie to get up and check on the boys while they were sleeping at least four times yet (in the two hours it took to watch the movie!) It's unnerving, unsettling and unsolved. AND it's based on a true story, which made the whole thing even worse.

Based in the 30s, Angelina Jolie, a single mother of an 8(ish) year old boy Walter, came home from work to find that her son wasn't at home as he should have been. She searched the neighborhood to no avail and called the police, who told her she had to wait 24 hours before they would file a report. The next day they came and took her information and the search began. Five months later, they called to say that they found her son and he would be arriving at the train station. As an aside, the LAPD in the 30s was incredibly corrupt and didn't do many things right. They overlooked crimes and accepted kickbacks for doing so. Many citizens tried to protest the LAPD and found themselves in jail or the asylum because of it.

When Jolie arrived at the train station, the boy they presented wasn't her son. The police tried to convince her that he was, and that after the shock wore off, she would realize that it was her son. Well, obviously she would know better than they would and it wasn't her son. To start, he was a good 3 inches shorter and circumcised, not to mention he didn't know anything that her real son would have known (ie - teachers names in school).

When she started causing trouble for the LAPD in demanding that they resume the search for her real son, they had her locked in the psychopathic ward (which in the 30s was a terrifying place to look at on a movie screen, let alone live through!)

Finally, as one redeeming quality of the movie, the best lawyer in town took on her case pro bono to sue the city and the police force. In the meantime, a child was picked up by the police and proceeded to tell the horrific story about how he and his cousin killed at least 20 kids on a ranch not far from the outskirts of town. Much of the end of the movie was the trial of the LAPD and also of the adult cousin who did most of the kid-killing.

Just in case kid-killing with an axe, police brutality, insane asylums and missing children cases is your thing, I won't give away the ending... but I will say that this movie leaves you paranoid to know what your kids are doing at all times and thankful for every second they are safe at home. If this movie wasn't based on a true story and Hollywood had the freedom to write an actual ending (instead of the kind of ending where each character's update is written across the screen) I might recommend the movie, but for all the loose ends and unsettled feelings it left us with, I'd say you're better off with almost anything else.


Anonymous said...

Agreed on all fronts. Truly disappointing and completely unnerving. Had second thoughts about having children. Ever.