1. There were several points in this movie where, if I didn't know it was a true story, I would have turned it off. It's incredibly melodramatic. But if it's true, it's not incredible. It's credible.
2. I loathe movies about children in danger, both because I don't enjoy seeing children suffer and because I don't want to watch an actress ham it up pretending to be a mother who is agonizing over her suffering child. But I shielded myself from knowing what the story was going to be because I was told — by my son Chris — that the movie contained the greatest acting performance of the last decade and once I decide I will see a movie, I avoid reading anything about the plot.
3. I'd never seen an Angelina Jolie movie before. Looking at the list of movies she's made, I can see why. Although she seems like the biggest movie star in the world, she hasn't made many movies, and they aren't very good. She's done genres that I don't much follow (anymore). For example, she did one of the voices in "Kung Fu Panda." When I think of "Kung Fu Panda," I think of the Joshua Ferris short story "The Dinner Party":
“They just got their dates wrong, is all,” he said, “and tomorrow, when they call, they’ll tell you how sorry they are. They had to turn their phones off during the late showing of ‘Kung Fu Panda’ or something.”One wouldn't see "Kung Fu Panda."
“So they went to see ‘Kung Fu Panda’ tonight,” she said.
“Or something like it.”
“And they turned their phones off so they wouldn’t ring during ‘Kung Fu Panda.’ ”
“Or,” he said. “Or.” He put his finger up. They were standing near the bedroom doorway. There was dim light coming from the dark room and he was suddenly irrationally afraid, as he had been as a child, that if anyone stepped inside, if she stepped inside, she would plummet to the center of the earth. He lowered his finger. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t think they went to see ‘Kung Fu Panda.’ ”
4. Jolie emotes. That's for sure. It's what's called for and she does it. She goes all out and does it. She's the female Jack Nicholson. And this movie has a good dose of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in it. Now, take your medication. Or we'll give you an electroshock treatment. "Changeling" also made me think about another great Jack Nicholson movie, "Chinatown." Lots of L.A., lots of corruption.
5. Did Jolie out-act Kate Winslet? Winslet won the Oscar that year — for "The Reader." "The Reader" is also a melodrama, but it presents itself in less of a melodramatic style. Although "The Reader" is set in the Holocaust, the character is fictional, and her story is presented in a more dignified Oscar-worthy vehicle.
6. Quite oddly, there is a scene in "Changeling" in which the main character is listening to the Oscars presentation on the radio and rooting for her favorite movie to win. The movie is "It Happened One Night," and Jolie's character expresses her fondness for Claudette Colbert, who won an Oscar for her role. "It Happened One Night" swept the top 5 categories at the Oscars, and it wasn't until "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" that another movie swept the Oscars. I wondered what Clint Eastwood thought he was saying to the Academy by putting that Oscars scene in "Changeling." I don't think he was kissing their ass trying to get Oscars. Maybe it was a way to say Oscars are amusement for the people and they don't really matter to me anymore. But it would be pretty funny for Jolie to win an Oscar for a role where we'd have a clip of her in character getting excited about an Oscar win. It would be cute. Maybe she got some votes from Academy members who liked that.
7. Like "The Reader," "Changeling" has a scene that depicts
a hanging and uses a closeup of the hanged person's dangling feet — or is it just the shoes on the floor in "The Reader"? I forget.(
8. If you like red lipstick, this is the ultimate red lipstick movie. You've got, first of all, Angelina Jolie's famous, immense lips, and then you've got red red lipstick — of the historically accurate matte texture. And it looks like it was put on amateurishly by the character.
9. You like cloche hats? You will see cloche hats. Angelina Jolie's character seems to require a cloche hat — and gloves. (I couldn't figure out how she avoided getting red lipstick all over her gloves.) This is the ultimate cloche hat movie. What does the cloche hat mean? It speaks of the character's vulnerability and need for armor, which makes it
especially painful for us to see her without its protection when she's thrown into the psycho hospital.
10. What's with Angelina Jolie's hands?
11. Jolie calls Clint Eastwood "very much the ideal man":
Maybe it's generational, but I think we could use more of it. People look up to him. He is absolutely who he is. He doesn't apologize to anybody. He has very, very strong, decisive opinions and is very gracious as a man, as a friend and somebody on set as a director, too.She tags on the wifely niceness — "Brad knows that he's my ideal man" — but, reading that, I hear the emphasis on "my." Brad may be her ideal man, but Eastwood is the ideal man.
Oh! I went to 11. I thought it would be hard to get to 10. Ha. I guess I enjoyed that movie. Maybe I'll watch it again with somebody who hasn't seen it before. Back in the 80s, we used to love showing "The Terminator" to people who hadn't seen it yet. All the surprises would be new again. Last week, I was flipping channels and came to rest on "From Dusk to Dawn," which had just started. I'd seen it before, but Meade hadn't. Great vicarious fun for me.