‘Changeling’ is a 2008 film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by J. Michael.
Before we talk about our film, let us first look into the word ‘Changeling’.
What does it mean?
Changeling is a word used to describe a fairy child/creäture who is left in place of a human child. Based on the folk-lore that fairies sometimes due to their personal needs, can steal a human baby, and in turn put their babies in the stolen baby place. These Changeling babies were thought to be suffering from unexplainable diseases or mental conditions.
In some cultures a black thread is tied to a newborn’s hand or a knife is placed under his bed; to steer away any evil.
Coming back to movie ‘Changeling’, this is way more than just swapping your child with a sick one. It is the worst fear of any mother.
Infact it is hard to imagine that it is based on a real life event. It happened, in real. That is far too shocking.
Changeling stars Angelina Jolie in the lead role a single mother who is taking care of her 9-year-old boy, Walter Collins; who one day goes missing. Police search for the boy for several months when finally LAPD get hold of a boy, who says he is Walter Collins. To the horror of Jolie, this boy was not her son Walter, but an imposter(changeling). To avoid embarrassment in this huge media frenzy event of mother-son reunion, police pressure Jolie to take the boy home for 2-3 days and then decide, if it’s her son or not.
She takes the boy home but could never go past the point that he is not his son; and somewhere out there his son is still missing his mother. She is now a frustrated and helpless other who just want police to not stop their search unit to look out for her boy. She wants the police to accept that her boy is still missing.
But, it is more than just a statement for the police department to digest. It would be treated as police department failure in the media. So instead, they decide to pin it on the mom.
They said, Jolie want to relieve herself from taking care of her son that is why she is making such stories. When this does not work they admit her to a mental institute where it is common to see people who challenged police authority.
With the help of a reverend Gustav she came out of the mental institute, only to find that one other detective has cracked the case and found a serial killer who killed almost 20 kids; Walter Collins among one of them. Walter’s imposter also confesses that it was actually police who told him to say that he was Walter.
It doesn’t end here. More haunting are the scenes between killer and Jolie. Their confrontation.
This story is so terrifying. Losing your child in itself is the worst thing that can happen to a parent but to fight with a corrupt police department, to stand in front of a serial killer to seek answers, to see another kidnapped boy return only to tell story about your lost kid, to feed child of someone else who kept on calling you mother.
Angelina Jolie looks perfect and has acted in undertone. There are some scenes where you want to see her scream or just show some rage but she is just dead from inside, maybe this is what Eastwood wanted to portray her as. Whatever, it has made her role more depth.
Biggest hero is the director Clint Eastwood himself who has portrayed that whole past era so beautifully in this story, that you felt compelled to admire the beauty despite of this terrifying story line.