Archive for January 17th, 2009

January 17, 2009

>Changeling

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Once I made a post about strong and positive female roles in the movies, about how these are rare even these days, and this is the reason why I could never entirely appreciate a film like Black Snake Moan and even something like Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (well, its editing bugs me too, somehow). Thank God for men like Clint Eastwood, who once again tells a story of a strong and positive female role model, and he tells it well. In the film’s first act, we’re presented to Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), a working single mother living in the 1920s, whose biggest joy in life is her little boy Walter. After her child disappears, Christine contacts the Los Angeles police department, which finds the missing child in five months time. The boy who came back home, however, is not hers. From now on Christine’s real struggle begins. In a time that women had no voice and authorities like the LAPD acted above the law, speaking up against their interest would bring serious consequences. Refusing to accept the strange child as her real son and desperate for not having the cops’ help, she contacts the press and the next day she’s taken to a mental institution. There she meets women who were brought for the same reason, for “defying” the LAPD.

Luckily, not everything is lost for Christine, as she is helped by the Reverend Briegleb (John Malkovich), a man who has always criticized the corrupted police and now decides to act instead of only speaking about it on the radio. Would have she made it without one’s help in the first place? A man’s help, and a respected figure. In those times, I don’t think so. Coincidently or not, in Million Dollar Baby, there’s also a male figure struggling beside the leading lady. The difference is that here, the kind man is supporting, and nothing but supporting. The film belongs to Christine and consequently to Angelina Jolie, whose melodramatic acting convinces as the right choice for the role. Filmed in a traditional style, Changeling gets one’s attention despite its long screen time, after all, it has all a good classic melodrama requires and a litte more. It might not be Eastwood’s best picture, but it still has its signature and it’s definitely worth a visit in the movies.

Changeling (USA, 2008). Directed by Clint Eatwood. Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Starring Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Donovan, Jason Butler Harner.

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