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Thread: Changeling

  1. #1
    New Member ash28kumar's Avatar
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    May 2008

    Smile Changeling

    "Why did daddy leave us, Mommy?"

    "When you were born, a big box arrived and it contained something called Responsibility. For some people responsibility is the scariest thing in the world!"

    I'm not sure if a mother can explain this complicated moment in a better way to her nine year old son. This is a scene from a movie called "Changeling" starring Angelina Jolie and directed by Clint Eastwood. This film was based on real-life events in Los Angeles in 1928, where a young mother (Christine Collins) finds her nine year old son (Walter Collins) missing when she returns home from work. But after 3 months, LAPD finds her missing child and reunites the mother and Child, only to find that the kid is not her son. Then what follows was police power trying to suppress the mother and brands her as "Mentally Unstable". I'll stop the spoilers here. Please do watch this brilliant movie that gave Angelina Jolie an Academy award nomination.

    This movie talks about several key issues that were prevalent in 1928. I could relate those issues to even today. This shows how insecure the children are in our society. Be it 1928 or 2012, every kid in our society is at incredible risk. In a society that encourages Nuclear families, a time a child spends alone at home is relatively high compared to our previous generation. On the other hand, we cannot really say that joint families are any better for the security of a child. The physical, emotional and sexual abuse are still predominant in our society. Some might say otherwise too but truth is little hard to digest. When a single working mother, leaves her little kid at home, the risks associated are well-known. The saddest part is that this is not 1928.

    The next issue handled beautifully is "Freedom of Speech". People in power never enjoy this. They seem to prefer an authoritarian state of affairs. When Christine Collins persists that the kid rescued by the LAPD is not her kid, the police is ready to believe her. In 1928, the Los Angeles police were ridiculed and criticized severely for their "Take action against cops who don't kill the criminals" approach. So to avoid another media spectacle, the LAPD wants to close everything off the books. Then starts the "She is mentally unstable" story and the manner in which doctors treat the young forlorn mother, shows how insecure every one of us are in front of power. That leaves "Freedom of Speech" in a dark room where freedom gets lost in a corner. This too is an issue that’s happening till today. A blatant use of power was exhibited in Koodangulam Nuclear Plant Protest. Many people who question the authority of powerful bureaucrats often end up losing everything. This particular issue was well captured by an IAS officer P.A.Krishnan in his novel "Tiger Claw Tree" (Puli Naga Kondrai in Tamil).

    The next is how such stories unite the masses. This itself is a clear example of how the world perceives authoritarian powers. Almost all the civilizations have fought the oppressing authorities, Whether succeeded in that or not is a separate issue. The story of Christine Collins united the Los Angeles people in protesting against the corrupt and belligerent LAPD. So it really shows that the oppressed will not keep quiet for long. This too is evident today.

    The last one is for you to feel when you watch this movie. The last 5 minutes will definitely bring tears to your eyes. You'll feel proud about Christine Collins and her Walter, as though you are the mother feeling proud about your son. I'll definitely stop the spoilers here. Enjoy this amazing movie.

  2. #2


    A well written piece of thread, Ashwin. Thanks for your re-entry into our Forum after a long time...

    Yes indeed these issues which were prevalent in the 20s seem to have gathered momentum in today's world and there seems to be very little hope of eliminating them completely. Of course, there are people who care about such issues and actively take part to solve them or voice for the helpless. But even such people feel disheartened and discouraged by obstacles in the form of powerful and corrupt politicians and officials...

    Keep writing, Ashwin and look forward to more quality threads from you in the days to come...

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