Changeling tells the incredible true story of a single mother, Christine Collins, (Angelina Jolie) in 1928 who’s son vanishes and is replaced by the LAPD with an imposter. As she fights for her son, she is targeted by a corrupted police force that does everything they can to silence her and save their own reputations.
This is one of the most amazing true stories that we almost lost in the annals of history. It tells the dual story of Christine Collins, who sued the LAPD after they made her take in an imposter of her son and then forcefully locked her in a mental asylum to keep her quiet, and the infamous Gordon Stewart Northcott who was responsible for the tragic Wineville Chicken Coop Murders in 1928.
The film announces itself as a true story, not based on a true story, and the screenplay and storyline back up the claim. Though some historical facts were omitted, presumably due to the already formidable run time (2 and a half hours), a lot of direct dialogue was pulled from court transcripts and the entirety of the story is dramatically factual. It is an amazing story, with a brilliant performance by Angelina Jolie that earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination.
The era feels brilliantly executed (too soon? Sorry Gordon), and it feels genuine and immersive into the world of the 1920s. It takes an old story and yet makes it feel entirely relatable. Christine Collins was a strong, independent woman who fought for what she knew was right. She should even be considered one of the greatest muckrakers in history considering she had the strength to take on an entire police department in pursuit of the truth. She defended herself and she never wavered even in the face of outstanding adversity. It is an amazing story of a mother’s quest to find her son, to find closure and forgiveness, and to find truth when the whole the world told her she was a liar.
Christine Collins was a real-world badass female and Changeling is a superb final capstone for my Badass Women’s Week.
Amy’s Recommendation: 10/10
Favorite Badass Movie Line:
“I used to tell Walter, “Never start a fight…but always finish it. I didn’t start this fight…but by God, I’m going to finish it”