Directed by Clint Eastwood
A mother confronts the Los Angeles police after her child disappears.
The chances that you’ll enjoy a Clint Eastwood film are usually good, said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. You can rely on the “pleasure of his calm classicism: the deftly angled shots, the story that unfolds with well-carpentered precision.” This directorial style is “even more pronounced” in The Changeling—but this time it works against him. Based on a true story, the film stars Angelina Jolie as a single mother who, in 1928, sees her son kidnapped. When the L.A. police accidentally reunite her with a boy who isn’t hers, they put her in an asylum to keep her from exposing their incompetence. It’s a harrowing turn of events, which Eastwood opts to methodically recount, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. He sticks so closely to the facts, however, that he winds up creating a “distended, awkward narrative whose strongest themes are lost in the murky pomp of period detail.” Instead of exploring the story’s strangeness, The Changeling “lurches from one staid set piece” to the next. Through the entire film, we’re kept at a “stately remove” from the characters, said Dana Stevens in Slate.com. Jolie gives a rich, selfless performance, but the film’s flat delivery doesn’t invite us to share in her “disorientation, rage, and grief.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- Why insects are the future of food
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
Subscribe to the Week