WARNING: spoilers will follow.

Tipped as an Oscar winner for this year’s ‘serious’ film, Changeling is the true story of Christine Collins and the search amidst police corruption for her missing son Walter who disappeared in April of 1928.

Collins (Angelina Jolie) comes home from work one day to find that her 9 year old son Walter is not in the house and is nowhere to be found in the neighbourhood. She’s told by police that they cannot start to look for him until he’s been missing for 24 hours, but then after then the search begins. Several months later the police claim they’ve found Walter alive and well but the boy the bring back to Christine is not her son and is in fact significantly different. Christine then begins her campaign to prove to the corrupt LAPD that they’ve made a mistake but she becomes a nuisance to the already publicly unpopular police force and they lock her away in the psychopathic unit of a mental asylum. There she finds women like her who dared to question the police have also been locked away in horrible conditions and given electro-shock therapy when they misbehave. Meanwhile a young boy has come forward to police after being accused of border hopping and revealed that he has been forced by his uncle Gordon Northcott to kill around 20 young boys on their ranch in hicksville. A lone officer believes the boy and defies orders from his superiors and investigates. Turns out there are bodies-a-plenty on the ranch and Christine is released from the asylum as the young boy identifies Walter from a photo as one of the kids he helped murder. During all this John Malkovich’s Reverend Gustav Briegleb (thank you Wikipedia, there was no way I remembered that) is desperately helping Collins’ cause and fighting for her case to be heard. The case goes to court and Northcott is sent to the gallows. Although she tries to get an answer from him, Collins never actually knows for certain whether or not he killed Walter and so he dies without ever revealing the truth. The corrupt police officers are removed from office and justice is served. Some time later another of the boys that went missing around the same time as Walter turns up again and tells how Walter helped him escape from the ranch but that he doesn’t know what happened to him. So we’re left with this last hopeful message, but it turns out that Walter was never found and Christine Collins never stopped looking for him until the day she died.

Phew. Its a long old film. But its worth it. I expected to find a flaw as there has been much hype about it, but Changeling is simply stunning. Jolie is incredible in the role of Christine Collins and Malkovich can add gravitas to any scene or any line with the smallest of touches. I don’t have much else to say to be honest. The lead roles are perfect, the court scenes echo of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, and the hanging of Gordon Northcott is horribly chilling but necessary. I loved everything about Changeling; from the direction, (Mr Clint Eastwood) to the score, to the authenticity. I cannot fault it in any way. For what it aims to do, and why it aims to do it, Changeling is a perfect piece of cinema. It won’t be for everyone but if you enjoy true stories, told movingly by a highly skilled team of actors, writers and directors then its unmissable.