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The Sneak: Changeling

Original Source:  SUN: FRIDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2008
Published: 28 Nov 2008

Rollercoaster ride ... Angelina Jolie in Changeling


(15) 142mins

IMAGINE a highly publicised search for a missing child then the police announced they were going to reunite the kid with his mother at a Press conference.

But then the mother says the child is not hers.

How sensational would that be' Not as sensational as this true story from 1928. In this incredible and heartbreaking recounting of the forgotten tale of single-minded single mum Christine Collins all that happens and more.

Angelina Jolie plays Collins, who takes a boy claiming to be her son Walter home on a 'trial basis' when the police refuse to listen to her insistence that he is not her own.

The fact the new Walter is shorter than the missing boy does not alter the opinion of the Los Angeles Police Department. Their doctor says: 'His spine might have shrunk.'

When a distraught Collins eventually goes to the Press, the police have her locked up in an asylum.

Only when a detective stumbles upon a serial killer of around 20 children, whose victims might include Walter, is Christine freed.


The amazing twists do not end there. But The Sneak won't give away any more as he would not wish to ruin what is the most emotional roller coaster you will ride in a cinema this year.

Your critic is not too much of a man to admit no other recent movie has brought so many tears to his eyes as Changeling.

Anyone shocked by the incompetence of Portuguese police in the Madeleine McCann case or Haringey council over Baby P will understand the sad truth of this. That is what makes it so moving.

The film includes scenes from the terrifying acts of deranged murderer Gordon Stewart Northcott which could prove too much for some.

If all that sounds too depressing, director Clint Eastwood has sensibly emphasised the courage and optimism of Collins, who is so excellently portrayed by Jolie. She again proves she is more than just a beautiful face and deserves an Oscar nomination at least.

A couple of glitches are Jason Butler Harner over-egging Northcott's psycho twitches and Eastwood dwelling too long on stuffy courtrooms

Outstanding ... Jolie as Christine Collins

But you will never see a film which so well proves the adage that fact is stranger than fiction.

Best Line: Police Captain Jones, who is in charge of the case, tells Collins: 'Either you're lying or not capable of knowing you are lying.'

Best character: Collins doesn't understand the meaning of 'give in'.

Family rating: Could give nightmares to both parents and children.

Bum numbness: Can two hours of Angelina ever be too long'

Rating out of five: Five

UK release date: November 28


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