This brilliant 2008 film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie is one of the best of both superstar careers. The movie tells the true story of Christine Collins, a single mother living in Los Angeles in 1928 when her young son is abducted. Ms. Collins struggles to find her son at a time when there was no national response to missing children and the streets were a rough place. Rougher still was the treatment Ms. Collins received from a corrupt police commissioner who would ultimately match Ms. Collins with the wrong child in an attempt to make the case go away in the eyes of the media. Ms. Collins was left to fight City Hall in her quest for the truth about her son, even being wrongly committed to a mental hospital for disobeying the LAPD. Were it not for an outspoken preacher played in the film by John Malkovich, Ms. Collins would have lived the rest of her life in an insane asylum.
It is shocking to learn the film was all based on true events and case was eventually solved. The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders would shock the nation when details emerged of just what had happened to these missing boys.
While the film in worth seeing for the magnificent acting, direction, and cinematography, the costume design is the other leading lady in the film. Costume designer Deborah Hopper showcased the feminine detailing of the late 20's that was the cornerstone of fashion legend Coco Chanel and her vision of women. The Cloche Hats and drop waist dresses are timeless and beautiful. While a woman like Ms. Collins would never have been able to afford Couture from Chanel on her teleophone operator salary, she certainly would have been buying items chosen by department store buyers that attended Chanel couture shows in Paris. Buyers at the time would employ mass market factories that turned out thousands of European inspired dresses in places like NYC's Union Square. Chanel once said with a laugh of these knock-off houses that copied her look that she toured during a NY visit - "forgery is the best form of flattery".
Jolie is painfully beautiful, just balancing on the edge of beauty that almost makes her unbelievable in portraying anyone other than Angelina. Luckily for Ms. Jolie and for us, her talent keeps her lost just enough in her characters - despite her stunning looks.
While you might shed a tear watching this heart-wrenching story unfold, I think it is somehow a wonderful tribute to Mother's Day. Ms. Collins' love of her son gave her strength to find courage only a mother can know.
To download the film now via itunes - click -CHANGELING
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