Thanks to a tip from a reader, The Changeling has changed its name to “The Exchange,” according to Screen Daily. Variety’s Todd McCarthy gives it high praise, “emotionally powerful and stylistically sure-handed”:
A dozen filmmakers could have taken a dozen different approaches to the same material — sensationalistic, melodramatic, expose-minded, a kid’s or killer’s p.o.v., and so on. Perhaps the best way to describe Eastwood’s approach is that he’s extremely attentive — to the central elements of the story, to be sure (with its echoes of “A Perfect World”), but also to the fluidity between the private and the public, the arbitrariness of life and death, the distinct ways different people view the same thing, the destructive behavior of some adults toward children and the quality of life in California around the time he was born.
And Cinematical says:
Clint Eastwood’s Changeling (which may or may not be now known as The Exchange), is a riveting drama about a missing boy and the undying constancy of a mother’s love. Angelina Jolie excels in a powerful performance as Christine Collins, whose nine-year-old son, Walter, disappeared in 1928. Five months later, police returned to her a boy they said was Walter; Christine alleged that the boy was not her son.
And Richard Corliss of TIME says:
Changeling is an epic, fact-based story ‚Äî depicting sadistic, systematic corruption in the municipal government, the police department and the medical establishment of 1920s Los Angeles ‚Äî that has the novelty of being virtually unknown today. It juggles elements of L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, The Snake Pit and any number of serial-killer thrillers. But at its center are the heartache and heroic resolve of a woman who has lost the one person she loves most and is determined to find him, dead or alive, against all obstacles the authorities place in her way. In that sense the movie is a companion piece to last year’s Cannes entry A Mighty Heart, in which Jolie played the wife of kidnapped journalist Daniel Pearl ‚Äî except that Changeling is far more taut, twisty and compelling.
He closes his rave this way:
With flaring red lipstick on a face that hasn’t seen much time in the California sun, and with a grieving matched in severity only by her will to learn the truth, Jolie carries the burden of the first hour. As the story expands, and finds new avenues of real-life horror, Jolie can coast on the narrative instead of having to push it with her grit and tears. The movie becomes an ensemble piece, with a dozen or so character actors carrying the storyline. In other words, Changeling is exactly as good as its makings. By the end, with its purposeful accumulation of depravities, both individual and institutional, Eastwood’s non-style has paid off; the story’s weight could come close to burying you in despair.
You may ask: There’s that much evil in the world? And Clint, thinking more about storytelling craft than Cannes crockery, would say, Sure. But there are heroes too. And this time, the righteous gunslinger is a mom with no weapon but her inexhaustible love.
Well, here you go, folks. A true Best Picture contender out of Cannes.