I had a tough time believing that Changeling is inspired from a true story. As soon as I finished watching the movie, I immediately began a secondary research on its content. From what I gathered, I found it a pretty close depiction of the reality. Changeling has all the elements of a suspense thriller, drama and emotions in absolutely the right amount, and yet it’s not fiction. All the elements in the movie get woven so intricately and delicately that makes you challenge its origin.

Changeling is the story of a woman and her un-deterred resolution to stand against the system for justice. First “A might heart” and then this movie, Angelina Jolie definitely seems to be revamping her image as the tomb-raider and I can’t deny that she is doing a great job at that.

The story takes us back to Los Angeles in 1928 when LAPD ruled like a dictator, crime-rate reached an all-time high, media and newspapers question every move made by the federal agencies and common public was nothing but mute spectators. This is the time when Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), a single mother to a 9 yr old boy (Walter Collins) and a hard-working & dedicated employee at the telegraph company does it all to maintain a balance in her personal and professional life; on one such day, when Christine gets home after her shift, she finds her son missing and untraceable. After neglecting the case for a while, desperation to establish a positive public image encourages LAPD to picks this up as the right opportunity to do some damage control by tracking down this lost boy. As lucky as they could be, they succeed in their endeavor to locate Walter, and decide to bring him home under all media-frenzy and attention. Ignoring all the fanfare, as Christine waits to be united with his son, she realizes, to her absolute horror, that the boy in front of her eyes is an impostor, or so she feels. Afraid that the whole episode might turn upside down and cause them negative publicity, police persuades Christine about the boy’s identity and so does the boy. In her deluded state, Christine takes the boy home, but with every passing moment she is more convinced about the boy’s mistaken identity. As Christine struggles to take her case ahead, she gets supported by Rev. Gustav (John Malkovich), a popular radio preacher who fights against the LAPD. Christine gets thrown in the mental asylum for her display of audacity and undergoes physical and mental humiliation, where she learns that most of the patients in that ward are admitted on account of similar reasons as hers.

As Christine struggles in the asylum, around the same time, somewhere around US Canada border, a juvenile gets picked for illegal trespassing and is taken into police custody. What look like a simple illegal entry across US borders has a horrifying story behind it and as the terrifying story unravels, we come face to face with one of the most outrageous murder massacres in history, known as “The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders”, named after the chicken farm where the heinous crime was committed.

Once the reality is revealed to the common public, Christine and many other victims are freed out of the asylum with the help of Rev. Gustav. As Christine struggles to get hold of the reality, she decides to stand against all the injustice done to her and move the whole system. We witness court-showdowns, a psychotic killer’s capital punishment, the LAPD’s shameful state and a grief-stricken mother’s never-ending search for his son.

Years pass-by and Christine continues the search for her missing son. The year is 1935 and Christine is working late in the office when she receives a strange phone call from another victim of the massacre. What Christine hears and sees probably becomes an inspiration for her for a lifetime. It touches my heart that a woman has forever been in search for her most-prized possession and secretly I want her optimism to be awarded.

Yes it’s a woman oriented movie, which by itself gives it a huge shot at success. Yes it has Angelina Jolie, who, surprisingly, does a good job at playing a grief-stricken mother from yelling to howling, desperation to rage. But still it’s not “any other movie” for me. Clint Eastwood definitely deserves credit for some excellent direction work. The star-cast is superb, with each character playing its part just flawless, be it the lunatic murderer or the corrupt police officer. The colors and theme are just appropriate to set the mood for that era and the movie, though based on a slow pace, keeps you wondering “What’s next”. However, there are certain scenes that increase the tension and then break it without delivering the expected; that makes you wonder at the necessity of certain long and dragging scenes, one such to mention is the scene where the murderer is being hanged.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t come as a surprise at all that the movie was nominated for 3 Oscars for art direction, cinematography and lead role actress.  For the brilliant art-work, acting and direction, and the terrifying tales from the past, this movie definitely deserves to be watched.