Changeling, a new Clint Eastwood film starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich, comes out this weekend, October 25th. The story is about a woman who unknowingly gets involved in one of the biggest police scandals after her son is stolen and the wrong boy is returned to her. The story is gripping, but is the movie? Many people have complained that Jolie is too good looking for this film, others say that Eastwood could do no wrong as a director.
Before you spend $12 at the theater here is a round-up of what the experts have to say…
- Roger Ebert: “Changeling” displays the directness and economy of his mentor, Don Siegel. It has not a single unnecessary stylistic flourish. No contrived dramatics. No shocking stunts. Not a gunshot. A score (by Eastwood) that doesn’t underline but observes… This is the story of an administration that directed from the top down to lie, cheat, torture, extract false confessions and serve to protect its image. In a way, it is prophetic. – Roger Ebert
- RollingStone: “The proof of his sure touch and emotional acuity as a director is on powerful display in Changeling, a riveting true crime story set in Los Angeles in 1928, around the time Eastwood was born. Jolie is inspired casting. She plays the role like a gathering storm, moving from terror to a fierce resolve. And Eastwood, at the peak of his artful powers, tightens the screws of suspense without ever forgetting where the heart of his film lies” -Peter Travers
- NYPress: Eastwood piles on extraneous, aggravating subplots: a corrupt police force (“The Gun Squad”) manipulating Christine’s misfortune; her sexist exploitation by both the rabid media and opportunistic radio evangelist Rev. Gustav Briegleb (John Malkovich); bogus psychiatry practiced by a menacing shrink (Dennis O’Hare) who terrorizes Christine in a mental institution… Changeling isn’t suspenseful: It’s creepy. Lacking the historical veracity of De Palma’s Black Dahlia, its style is a bizarre form of old-school storytelling, mixing masochistic dread with ugly reportage. – Armond White
- Entertainment Weekly: The trouble with Changeling is that it plays less like reality than like a bare-bones, moralistic rehash of other, better movies, such as L.A. Confidential or Frances. The oldfangled deliberateness of Eastwood’s style has backfired this time, only adding to the sense that though you may not have heard this particular story before, you already know everything that’s coming. – Owen Gleiberman
- LA Weekly: On a double bill with L.A. Confidential, Chinatown… Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, a period drama based on a 1928 Los Angeles missing-child case, would come off as faintly geezer-ish noir lite… Biblically classical, tastefully vintage with aerial shots of wet umbrellas and Homburg hats and not a little staid considering its sensational source material, Changeling isn’t so much dull as it is an open book… Certainly this determinedly mature film won’t be a hot ticket with the YouTube crowd, even with the glam luster of Angelina Jolie, miscast but pretty good as Collins. – Ella Taylor
- The Observer: Clint Eastwood’s absolutely true and overwhelmingly gripping saga of how crime and police corruption in 1920s Los Angeles led to a lifelong ordeal for a single mother named Christine Collins, a career-defining role for Angelina Jolie… If I have one caveat, it’s Angelina Jolie. She works hard, and I applaud the fact that there’s no annoying sense of self-lacerating defeatism in her performance, but there is, to be honest, a bit too much self-conscious posing for close-ups to convincingly serve the power of the narrative. – Rex Reed