Newest Review: ... Walter is missing from home, which is very out of character for her son. The police do not take her complaint of a missing child very seri... more
A scandal of its time - Disturbing yet engrossing
Member Name: IzzyS
Advantages: Engrossing, good performances, important themes
Disadvantages: A bit long drawn out perhaps, the odd particularly unsettling/disturbing scene
- Cast/Credits -
- Story -
Christine Collins is a single mother living in LA. She's suddenly called in to work an extra shift at her workplace at a telephone exchange and so, knowing her son is quite intelligent and grown up, she decides to leave him at home, however she regrets this after she comes home that evening to discover the home empty and no-one seems to know his whereabouts.
She phones the LAPD to file a missing persons report but they down play it and say that she cant file a report until the next day, assuring her that he'll turn up overnight, however he doesn't and so the report is filed. Months later, she's told that a child claiming to be her son has been found and so she's reunited with the child, who she knows instinctively isn't her own flesh and blood but for fear of embarrassment, the LAPD strictly deny her outcries that she's been given the wrong child back and that they must re-open the case again. From then on, things go from bad to worse, with Christine being viewed in an increasingly cold and judgemental way and all the while, no-one in power is looking for her son - can her real son be identified? is Christine wrong about the child she was reunited with and why are the LAPD so quick to deny her claims? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts/Opinions -
*Be warned, there are some minor spoilers present in this section*
Angelina Jolie gives a good performance in this movie as the rightfully upset and very frustrated Christine Collins, who is determined to find her son and highlight how crooked the LAPD is/was. This movie is apparently based on a true story set in the late 1920s and it certainly puts a chill down your spine to see the sorts of things that went on, with the LAPDs treatment of women. Its a reflection of the times in terms of sexism in a more general way as well, I feel, not just in relation to the LAPD specifically but obviously back then women had less rights and men would probably think less of them than now, things weren't as equal for the sexes as they are now. Its quite disturbing to see the scenes set in the psych ward and to learn what we learn - certainly the term abuse of power is valid and indeed its the main theme present in this movie.
I think Christine is, in a way, a hero figure, certainly to other women, who will likely be able to identify with her, especially mothers and single mothers - to go through the trauma of losing your only child is clearly a very upsetting and worrying ordeal but to be presented, months after the disappearance, with a child who your sure isn't your own flesh and blood, although the authorities won't take this and do everything in their power to persuade you otherwise - well, you can only imagine what that must be like - very troubling and frustrating. I found myself quite engrossed in this movie, sharing many of Christine's emotions, willing her to get to the bottom of what happened to her beloved son Walter while also learning with her about whats going on behind the scenes, so to speak and it was quite satisfying to see how some members of the community reacted to her plight, agreeing to help her on her mission to prove the child she'd been assured is hers, is in no way related to her. This is no mean feat and as the plot unravels, is quite shocking, disturbing even to see how far those in authority go to prove to Christine that she's wrong and given the fact that this movie claims to be based on a true story, its sad to think that such things may have happened.
This is, of course, quite a dark movie and there are some scenes which make for uncomfortable viewing, including one of a person being hanged which was quite disturbing (I always thought that death was immediate from hanging but apparently not - yes, its not nice to watch) and one or two sudden flashback scenes as well. To be honest, the themes present are probably more disturbing than said scenes but I thought its worth mentioning all the same.
The movie is quite long, at around about 2 hours and 20 minutes and I think it was perhaps a bit long drawn out, although on the other hand if it were cut back more than by perhaps 15 minutes or so, it may seem a bit convenient and rushed - still the story moves fairly slowly and if you rely on action and visual effects to keep you from being distracted then this might be an issue for you, not that you should expect such things from a movie like this but again, its perhaps worth mentioning. I also felt that the story was a bit unclear in one or two parts, though things became clearer later on, however I should probably admit that I had an issue with the DVD being scratched and a few times it would refuse to play and I'd have to skip the affected part on the disk so that was probably part to blame, I missed probably 10 mins max. of the movie but then in a way it was good for me as the movie ended a bit earlier than I expected overall - I still saw the majority of it and I feel I can still review it well enough.
I haven't mentioned the ending yet, so I'll mention it now. I imagine that the ending divided opinon - I suppose its not dreadfully bleak yet its not fully a Hollywood ending either, in that the viewer is left with unanswered questions - even though there's an update of sorts written across the scene just before the credits roll. Ultimately, its up to you as the viewer to come to your own conclusions about certain aspects but I thought it was nice that the ending mentions what became of some characters (I suppose thats the more 'Hollywood' aspect of it).
- Would I Recommend it? -
Yes, I'd recommend this movie, as I found myself quite engrossed in the story and I thought that the main character, Christine, was well portrayed. The fact that it is, apparently, based on a true story, makesit more chilling and I think the themes present are quite important (the messages at play are ones that people should be aware of even in the present day) and for other women, it makes you think about how we were perceived in the past and the progress thats been made - although Christine was perhaps doing well as a successful businesswomen in the late 1920s which was quite possibly not often the case for women back then, the way that her actions were downplayed and perceived, it is disturbing.
This is a rather long movie which is perhaps a little long drawn out and you may be slightly disappointed by the ending, that depends but if this really intrigues and interests you based on what I've said, then yes I'd recommend it.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for all rates and comments which are gratefully received. This review may be posted on DooYoo UK under the same name at a later date. ..
Summary: A single mothers son disappears in 1920s LA