A number of people posted comments (that I subsequently deleted) on my “Real Christine Collins” entry, saying, “Obviously, you haven’t seen the movie”, or “Maybe you should see the movie first”, and so on.
I’ve seen “Changeling”. I saw it because of my interest in the Northcott case. I watched about 10-15 minutes of clips before the limited release, and, despite my disgust with Jolie’s performance, went to see the entire film anyway. I live in an area that got the film during the “limited release”.
Now that that’s been cleared up, in addition to what I said in my original Christine Collins entry, let me say this:
Angelina Jolie cried/got teary-eyed 15 times in this film (yes, I counted). Seven of those 15 times were in the first half-hour. The movie was 140 minutes long, and that includes opening and closing credits. Jolie was not in every scene, so let’s give a fair estimate that she was in 120 minutes of the film. That means that, on average, Angelina Jolie got weepy/cried about every eight minutes.
She cried on the phone, she cried at work, she cried at the police station, she cried at the train station, she cried in the hospital, she cried in court, she cried at the hearing (it was annoying as hell)…this is NOT the behavior of a “strong, brave, courageous” woman. Strong, brave, courageous women pull themselves together and don’t constantly “lose it” in public, regardless of how devastated and grief-stricken they may be. Strong women have self-control and exercise self-restraint: They do not scream and cry hysterically at police officers, doctors, nurses, and children, no matter how frustrated, upset or overwhelmed they may feel.
I have no doubt that Christine Collins was devastated, fearful, grief-stricken, and anguished over her son’s disappearance, but the truth is that she DID NOT act out emotionally and hysterically when dealing with the authorities. Her behavior was non-emotional, composed and business-like; the LAPD actually tried to use this fact as a defense during the hearing over Christine Collins’ wrongful incarceration (as seen and heard in the film).
Just how well did she keep her composure? Going back to my “Real Christine Collins” entry, look at the second picture (the one with the frame on it). That photograph of Christine Collins was taken at San Quentin Prison, while she was waiting to speak with Gordon Stewart Northcott before his execution. Her facial expression shows her anguish, yet her stance and body language show confidence, composure, and dignity.
Those who claim that “any parent” would be hysterical, that excessive crying and emotional acting-out is the “normal” reaction of a loving mother over the disappearance of her son are of the same sexist mentality as the officers who treated Christine Collins so badly: The mentality that women are normally highly emotional and hysterical (and thus unable to be objective and logical), particularly when it comes to matters involving their children. It is neither fair nor appropriate to infer that one speaks for all parents.
Some parents express their emotions privately while maintaining a more business-like composure in public. Christine Collins was one of those parents, and Angelina Jolie failed at portraying this very significant aspect of her real-life character’s personality in “Changeling”.
Keywords: Changeling, movie, The Real Christine Collins, Northcott, Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, Walter Collins, LAPD, 1928, Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood, sexism, women