How does a loving mother feel when her only child accidentally goes missing? What does a loving mother feel when a child is returned? What does she feel, clearly realizing that the returned “finder” is not her child? Who and why makes you impersonate the son of the main character, where did the real relative disappear and what a terrible secret this mysterious story hides – the desire to get answers to these questions prompted many viewers of the American thriller, filmed in 2008 by director Clint Eastwood, to plunge headlong into the gloomy story of a boy and not losing hope for the return of the woman’s son.
The film is based on real events, which makes it more creepy and interesting.
The main plot of the film Changeling
The events of the film take place in the late 20s of the XX century in Los Angeles. The measured and happy life of an American family, consisting of a mother and a nine-year-old son, is suddenly destroyed by misfortune: the boy, left at home alone to wait for his mother, disappears. The woman throws all her strength in search of the baby, with the help of a local priest, but the police are in no hurry to investigate. A few months later, the woman is informed that the child has been found and persuaded to allow a public “family reunion” to be held to raise the level of confidence in law enforcement agencies.
However, having arrived at the place of the long-awaited meeting, the woman, under the flashes of cameras and the speeches of the police, discovers that the boy whom the police mistook for her son and who himself willingly confirms this information is a completely different child: she sees him for the first time in her life. The heroine denies that the boy is her son, but under pressure, in a state of shock, agrees to bring the child to her home in order to “remember and make sure” that this is her missing son. The “experiment” fails miserably when the woman finds overwhelming evidence that the baby has been switched. The boy, under pressure, confesses everything to the desperate heroine who sheltered him.
The woman publicly accuses the police of deceit, for which she pays heavily: by the labors of the one by whom the boy was “found” and “returned”, the heroine is placed for compulsory treatment in a psychiatric hospital. There, the woman meets another unfortunate woman who has become objectionable to the police due to circumstances. The attending physician, acting at the behest of the police, tortures the woman into confessing that the boy handed over to her by the police is the real son, but she stubbornly refuses to admit the lies are true.
Another line is wedged into the plot and begins to develop: a young detective arrives at a ranch located in Southern California in order to pick up a teenager who illegally crossed the border of the country. However, the boy tells the detective a horrific story about his captivity at the ranch and the many murders committed either by his kidnapper or by himself under pressure from a man. Sexual and physical abuse, the psychological shock experienced by the boy, is at first taken by the detective for a skillful lie in order to avoid deportation. However, when the teenager points to the place where the bodies are buried, the detective is horrified to be convinced of the veracity of the words of the child.
The case is getting a lot of attention. The mother of a missing boy is released from the asylum after the release of a survivor’s testimony that, judging by the photo, the nine-year-old Los Angeles was also a victim of the killer. However, during the interrogation, the captured criminal refuses to admit that he killed the boy. Information is confirmed that several kids managed to escape from a terrible place. The mother of the missing boy is trying to get a meeting with the killer in order to personally ask a question about the fate that befell her son, however, the maniac refuses to talk to her at the last moment, thereby rendering the woman a huge favor – leaving room for faith in the best and waiting for a meeting with the surviving son.
Inspired by the hope of a possible meeting with the boy, the heroine continues to search for him.
The film raises many problems: the omnipotence and impunity of the police, the vulnerability of women at the beginning of the last century, sexual, physical and moral abuse of children and adults, the theme of cartel psychiatry and the role of public opinion in a conservative society. However, despite the abundance of cruel and morally difficult scenes, the film is still very popular with viewers.
The meaning of the film’s ending
The truth, no matter how terrible it may be, is always better and more desirable than the unknown. The only force that wins the fight against the desire to know the truth is hope, strengthened by the feeling of motherly love. In the final credits, it is said that the woman devoted the rest of her life to searching for her son, which means, as she herself believed, she did not spend it in vain.