Changeling is a 2008 American period thriller directed by Clint Eastwood and written by J. Michael Straczynski.

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Colm Feore

In 1928 Los Angeles, single mother Christine Collins (Jolie) returns home one day to discover her nine-year-old son, Walter (Griffith), is missing. Reverend Gustav Briegleb (Malkovich) publicizes Christine's plight and rails against the Los Angeles Police Department for its incompetence, corruption and the extrajudicial punishment meted out by its "Gun Squad", led by Police Chief James E. Davis (Feore). Several months later, Christine is told her son has been found alive. A public reunion is organized by police, who believe the positive publicity will negate recent criticism of the department. Although "Walter" (Conti) claims to be Christine's son, she says he is not. Captain J. J. Jones (Donovan), the head of the LAPD's Juvenile Division, insists the boy is Walter and pressures Christine into taking him home "on a trial basis".

After Christine confronts Jones with physical discrepancies between "Walter" and her son, Jones has a doctor visit her. He tells Christine that "Walter" is shorter because trauma has shrunk his spine and that the man who took Walter had him circumcised. A newspaper story appears that implies Christine is an unfit mother. Christine meets with Briegleb, who tells her the story was planted by police to discredit her. He also tells her of the corruption rife in the department, and of the Gun Squad's despotic rule over the city's streets. Walter's teacher and dentist give Christine signed letters confirming "Walter" is an impostor. Christine arranges a press conference during which she tells her story. At Jones' order, Christine is taken to Los Angeles County Hospital's "psychopathic ward". Christine is befriended by inmate Carol Dexter (Ryan), who tells Christine she is one of several women who were imprisoned for challenging police authority. Dr. Steele (O'Hare) deems Christine delusional and forces her to take mood-regulating pills. Steele says he will release Christine if she admits she was mistaken about "Walter". She refuses.

Detective Ybarra (Kelly) is called to a ranch at Wineville, Riverside County to arrange the deportation of 15-year-old Sanford Clark to Canada. The boy's uncle, Gordon Northcott (Harner), has fled after being unwittingly alerted by Ybarra to his visit. Clark tells Ybarra that Northcott forced him to assist in kidnapping and murdering approximately twenty children and identifies Walter as one of them. Jones tells Briegleb that Christine is in protective custody following a mental breakdown. Jones orders Clark deported, but Ybarra makes Clark reveal the murder site. Briegleb secures Christine's release by showing Steele a newspaper that details the Wineville killings and names Walter as a possible victim. "Walter" reveals his motive was to secure transportation to Los Angeles to see his favorite actor, Tom Mix, and says the police told him to lie about being Christine's son. Northcott is captured in Vancouver, Canada. Christine has an attorney (Pierson) secure a court order to release the women unfairly imprisoned by police.

On the day of the city council's hearing into the case, Christine and Briegleb arrive at Los Angeles City Hall, where they encounter thousands of protestors who are demanding answers from the city. The hearing is intercut with scenes from Northcott's trial. The council concludes that Jones and Davis should be removed from duty, and extrajudicial internments by police must be reviewed. Northcott is found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by hanging. Two years later, Christine has not given up her search for Walter. She is told Northcott is willing to admit killing Walter on condition that Christine meets him before his execution. Northcott refuses to tell her whether or not he killed her son, and he is executed the next day. In 1935, David Clay—one of the boys assumed to have been killed—is found alive. He reveals that one of the boys with whom he was imprisoned was Walter. David, Walter and another boy escaped, but were separated. David does not know whether Walter was recaptured, giving Christine hope he is alive.

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