UNN Movie Review: Changeling

changeling-poster1Okay, one down–one more to go.  

I was on the Academy Award’s list of nominees and I saw another movie I had seen last summer was up for nomination and I was like “Aw nuts!  I have to do a third review” and then I realised I just don’t feel like it.  But all I have is one word concerning the absolute GREATNESS of that film.

“Ski-doosh!”

Now on to Changeling!

**Harsh language used ahead, BE AWARE!!!**

Actually just saw this movie last night.  The Critical Cleric/Soul Jonz had done a very good job of talking up this movie to me.  I had seen the ads for it, and it had mildly piqued my interest, but Angeline Jolie just has never done much for my, um, shon-doh, shall we say…But she pulled on something when she did this movie because I really thought it was a good movie.  Juxtaposed to “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” this movie was based on actual events, so I’m quite sure it was much easier for me to believe it.

Whereas the blunders of a bad thought process, ultimately a bad script in my opinion concerning “Benjamin Button” overshadowed good acting making Henson’s character seem almost campy, Angelina Jolie’s character of Christine Collins singularly drove the movie.  We were all there when she was forced to grin and bear the fact that the little boy that got off the train wasn’t her son, and all movie goers had the gut wrenching terror, evoking a possessed child from a horror movie when the little boy turned around and called her “Mommy” for the first time.

I didn’t have those moments in “Benjamin Button.”

The acting in this movie included that of Jeffrey Donovan (most recently famous for his starring role in USA channel’s “Burn Notice” but formerly famous as Vince Munson the a-hole candidate who got his head stuck up the bull’s behind in Will Smith’s “Hitch”) as Captain Jones. What I also appreciated about this movie was that it really did reveal the plight of white women in the 1920s and it sucked for them.  They were being treated like Negroes.

When the movie took place, mostly in 1928 means that it wasn’t a full 10 years since the 19th Amendment had been passed granting women the right to vote, but that it was still a man’s world.  In fact it still is man’s world.  What struck me was while Christine Collins was locked up in LA County’s Psychopathic (not Psychiatric) Hosptial and she ran into a woman who “worked the night shift” who was trying to give her advice on how to make it through there, such as eating all of your food because “it appears normal.”  But it was her next lines that struck a chord with me: she laid out a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario that if they smiled too much, they were considered to be covering up their feelings and ultimately maniacal, or if they frowned to much, they were depressed and possibly suicidal, but if they even kept a plain face, they were void of emotion and pre-catatonic.

Woooooow….so, she freed Christine Collins to tell the head doctor and the powers that be “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on!”

It reminded me of a conversation that I had had with some friends earlier about female preachers and pastors in a male dominated field that in some instances these women have to “put on a ministry dick” so to speak just to have their voices heard in the midst of egotistical men who get together just to whip out their own ministries (dicks) and measure them up with each other–who has the biggest church? who has the baddest choir? who can hoop or squall the best?

Aside from all of that, what got me was the complacency of the women in the movies.  Simply stated, many of the staff in this psychopathic hospital were women, portrayed as unaware souls of the women that they helped incarcerate.  It also made me thankful that science and technology has progressed because watching the electroshock therapy was a bit much for my stomach and for my head.  Also, hopefully, we’ve progressed in our treatment of children in the police departments’ juvenile divisions, or rather the Department of Children and Family Services (yes, DCFS, I’m from Chicago so insert whatever appropriate regional acronym) has gone lengths into making children in fact be children.

I’d also be remiss to not give a good kudos to the acting of Jason Butler Harner who played Gordon Northcott, the convicted serial killer and kidnapper of up to 20 little boys, one of which had been thought to be Christine Collins missing boy Walter Collins over which the whole movie was premised.  Harner acted the hell out of that part, especially in the jailhouse scene between he and Jolie and of course the director decided to take this apologist tone when he was walking up the steps of the gallows and fighting each and every step of the way, and Harner was definitely doing his part in acting.  So when the trap door was dropped and his body fell–I was there.

Again, never had a moment like that in “Benjamin Button.”

The movie had wonderful period touches.  I really felt like 1928 Los Angeles, just on the verge of the Great Depression.  I was a fan of the clothing, the cars, the technology of it all as Collins was a manager at the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph company on the switchboards.  What struck me odd was that a single mother was able to afford such a decent lifestyle in that house on her salary in 1928 and forward.  But nonetheless, that was the only issue I seemed to really have with the movie aside from the obvious.

Oh, unrelated to the movie review:

A) Am I the only black person who’s mildly curious about the size of Angelina Jolie’s lips and yet another subtle example of the negrification of our world and B) Why is it that this lady Wendy Worthington, who’s been on the acting scene for quite some time, always ends up playing some sourpuss woman? 

This is a movie I’d recommend.  Such is up to you whether you’d want to make the purchase to buy it on DVD or not, but for those who actually read this as soon as they drop–have fun at the Oscars!

Feel free to leave your thoughts concerning this movie down below, I’d look forward to hearing them.

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

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