2008 film by Clint Eastwood
Changeling is a 2008 American drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie as a woman supposedly reunited with a boy she quickly realizes isn't her missing son. When, however, she tries to demonstrate this to the police and city authorities, she is vilified as delusional and an unfit mother.
- Our thoughts go out again today to Mrs. Christine Collins of Lincoln Heights, whose young son, Walter Collins, disappeared nearly two weeks ago. Though she is not a member of our congregation, we pray for her today as we have every day, since we learned of her plight. On the radio and in the newspapers we are told that the Los Angeles Police Department is doing its very best to reunite mother and child, and I'm sure that that is true. But given its status as the most violent, corrupt and incompetent police department this side of the Rocky Mountains I am not sure it's saying a great deal. Every day, new bodies appear along Mulholland and in the ditches of our cities, the work of Police Chief James Davis and his aptly named Gun Squad. Every day, the needs of honest citizens are put second to greed and personal gain. Every day, this city sinks deeper into a cesspool of fear, intimidation and corruption. Once the City of Angels, Los Angeles has become a place where our protectors have become our brutalizers. Where to be the law is to be above the law.
- I'm going to tell you what happened and I'm going to keep on telling you every night, right here, until somebody does something about it.
- If we're insane, nobody has to listen to us. I mean, who are you gonna believe, some crazy woman trying to destroy the integrity of the force, or a police officer?
J. J. JonesEdit
- Oh, Jesus jumped down.
- Departmental policy is what I say it is!
- Briegleb: Mrs. Collins, I have made it my mission in life to bring to light all the things the LAPD wish none of us ever knew about. A department ruled by violence, abuse, murder, corruption and intimidation. When Chief Davis took over the force two years ago, he said...
- Davis: We will hold court against gunmen in the streets of Los Angeles. I want them brought in dead, not alive, and I will reprimand any officer who shows the least mercy to a criminal.
- Briegleb: He picked fifty of the most violent cops on the force, gave them machine guns and permission to shoot anyone who got in their way. He called them the Gun Squad. No lawyers, no trials, no questions, no suspensions, no investigations. Just piles of bodies. Bodies in the morgues, bodies in the hospitals, bodies by the side of the road. And not because the LAPD wanted to wipe out crime. No. The LAPD wanted to wipe out the competition. Mayor Cryer and half the force are on the take. Gambling, prostitution, bootlegging, you name it. Because once you give people the freedom to do whatever they want, as the Lord found in the Garden of Eden, they will do exactly that. This police department does not tolerate dissent, or contradiction, or even embarrassment. And you are in a position to embarrass them and they do not like it. They will do anything in their power to discredit you. I've seen that happen too many times to start going blind now. That's why I wanted to meet you, to let you know what you're getting yourself into and to help you fight it, if you choose to.
- Carol: The more you try to act sane, the crazier you start to look. If you smile too much, you're delusional or you're stifling hysteria. And if you don't smile, you're depressed. If you remain neutral, you're emotionally withdrawn, potentially catatonic.
- Christine: You've given this a lot of thought.
- Carol: Yeah, I have. Don't you get it? You're a Code Twelve, so am I. We're here for the exact same reasons; We both pissed off the cops.
- Clark: Look, you gotta help me, please. I'm so scared. I don't want to go to hell for killing kids!
- Ybarra: Look. What kids? What... What are you talking about?
- Clark: I don't know. I never knew their names.
- Ybarra: Names? How many? How many kids?
- Clark: All together? About twenty, I guess.
- Ybarra: No, you're lying.
- Clark: No! It's true, I swear!
- Ybarra: You're gonna tell me you killed 20 kids?
- Clark: Yeah! Thereabouts. I stopped counting after a while. Gordon said maybe one or two may have escaped. But...
- Ybarra: No. Nobody can just up and kill twenty kids, okay?
- Clark: We did.
- Ybarra: This kid, he's scared half out of his mind.
- Jones: He picked the Collins kid. We found him, remember? Haven't you been reading the papers? Or maybe you have, is that it?
- Dr. Steel: Six days, Mrs. Collins, and no progress. We may have to move on to more strenuous therapies. Unless you're willing to prove that you're doing better by signing this.
- Christine: [pause] Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
- Davis: The mayor wants this to go away. I want this to go away. The way you do that is to stop insisting that Walter Collins is not among those boys killed up at that goddamn ranch. Because if the boy you brought back is not Walter Collins, and he's not dead up at that ranch, then where the hell is he? People are gonna want to know why we haven't found him. Why we're not doing our job. But if, on the other hand, he is, or could be, among those poor boys killed up in Wineville, then the inquiries stop. It's a momentary embarrassment you're just gonna have to live with. Better a short inconvenience than a lingering problem, wouldn't you say, Captain?
- Jones: [defeated] Yes, sir.
- Davis: The boy's been gone nearly a year. If he was going to be found, it would've happened by now. Whether he was up at that ranch or not, the truth is he probably is dead somewhere. Better his mother accept that now than later, don't you think?
- Briegleb: I went to the best attorney in town, a man who's sued this city four times and won. Unfortunately, we can't afford to really hire him.
- Christine: I see.
- Hahn: Which is why I'm doing this pro bono. It would be my honor to defend your honor, Mrs. Collins. In my fifteen years as a lawyer, I have never seen anyone fight as long or as hard as you have, in what is so clearly in the cause of justice.
- Reporter: How did you avoid capture?
- Northcott: Well, I didn't, did I?
- Briegleb: The Lord works in mysterious ways, Mrs. Collins.
- Collins: Boy, does he ever.
- Jones: It was because of her disturbing behavior that I submitted her for observation to the psychopathic ward of Los Angeles County General Hospital.
- Hahn: Just like that. You snap your fingers and an innocent woman is thrown into the psycho ward!
- Jones: She wasn't thrown.
- Hahn: Every family in this state is in grave danger when a police captain can take a woman into his office and five minutes later have her thrown into the psychopathic ward on his own authority!
- Jones: [against the crowd] She wasn't thrown. She wasn't thrown! She wasn't thrown!
- Hahn: What was that, Captain?
- Jones: She wasn't thrown. She was escorted.
- Hahn: Escorted, thrown, the verb doesn't matter, Captain. What does matter, is that her incarceration was ordered without a warrant. I am holding a carbon copy of the affidavit of insanity that was issued in the case of the State of California v. Christine Collins. Who signed the affidavit?
- Jones: I did.
- Hahn: Well, now, let me see if I have this correct, a woman was thrown into the psychopathic ward without a warrant, because no warrant existed. And when it was finally written several days later, there was no need to sign it or to go to a judge because she was already in the asylum! Is this correct, Captain?
- Jones: Technically, yes. Extraordinary steps were necessary because we were dealing... We were dealing with an extraordinary situation. Now, is it our fault that we were being deceived by a boy who claimed to be Walter Collins? No. In light of his claims and her disturbing behavior, who wouldn't begin to think that there was something the matter with her?
- Hahn: Because she questioned you?
- Jones: No, because she wouldn't listen! Because she insisted on being obstinate! Because she tried to take matters into her own hand, best left to qualified officers! Because once civil disobedience starts -
- Hahn: Because she was fighting for the life of her son! A boy who may have still been alive while you were wasting valuable time denying you had done anything wrong! [pause] And in the end...that's what happened, isn't it? At some point, while all this was going on, Walter Collins was brutally murdered, along with as many as nineteen other boys at the Northcott Ranch in Wineville. Is that correct, Captain?
- Jones: [defeated] Yes, it is.
- Briegleb: Your son would want you to move on.
- Christine: Maybe. Maybe he'd want me to keep looking for him. Maybe he's somewhere waiting for me.
- Briegleb: I believe he is waiting, ma'am. He's waiting in that place where we'll all go someday to be reunited with our loved ones. And on that day, he'll know from front to back, end to end, heart to soul, that you did everything you could, Mrs. Collins. Everything.
- Northcott: Thirteen steps. Thirteen steps. But I didn't touch them all, you bastards. I didn't touch them all. I didn't touch them all.
- Angelina Jolie - Christine Collins
- Jeffrey Donovan - J. J. Jones
- John Malkovich - Gustav Briegleb
- Jason Butler Harner - Gordon Northcott
- Amy Ryan - Carol Dexter
- Michael Kelly - Lester Ybarra
- Geoff Pierson - S. S. Hahn
- Colm Feore - James E. Davis
- Denis O'Hare - Jonathan Steel