Changeling (2008) – Film Review

changeling film review angelina jolie

Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Donovan

Certificate: 15

by Matt Callard

A fascinating and elegant movie, vivid in period detail, packed full of mostly fine performances and masterfully crafted. But Changeling is difficult to love for one reason – it’s got ‘gimme an Oscar’ written all over it.

Angelina Jolie clearly relishes her wracked mother role, battling a corrupt LAPD, searching for her missing son. Clint Eastwood wallows in his extended Indian summer as director, allowing himself about half an hour of over-indulgence. John Malkovich does his best ever John Malkovich impersonation (always worth an Oscar shout that one).

There are genuinely jolting shocks via flashbacks and a forensic examination of contemptible conduct from officialdom. But there’s also an awful lot of Ms. Jolie wailing: ‘He’s not my child!’


This kind of tearful showboating, an oddly over-acted bit of psychosis from James Butler Harner and a one-step too-far trip in to a hellish psychiatric ward contribute only to viewer exhaustion.

The ending too does not resolve or satisfy – unforgivable for a film with such impeccable pedigree.

You can sense the sympathy disappearing with the popcorn. Whoever those shady gong-givers of Tinseltown are, this is their kind of film. One to be admired more than enjoyed.


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