Though the happy ending is slightly improbable, this movie focuses on a healthy family confronted
with stresses that can (and do) cause people to make bad choices. Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan as the couple at the center of this story are a strong example of a marriage that works. The standout performance was Bobby Canavale as the best friend of Paul Giamatti's character. It was nice, for a change, to go to a movie with likeable characters and a feel good message. While the happy ending was more Hollywood than real life, the way these characters interacted and solved their problems was entirely believeable.
This was a nice trip back into Broadway musical history, with a nice twist, in that the casting for
the revival of A Chorus Line, is the backdrop of the story about the late choreographer/director, Michael Bennett's creation of a show which portrays the deep yearnings of every professional dancer/performer. You find yourself identifying with both the auditioning dancers and the director, choreographer, and producer's search for artistic expression, truth, and, frankly, a job. There were some weaknesses: The filming was not crisply shot or edited and a favorite number, "Nothing", was not featured at all. It would have been nice, as well, to learn more about what happened to the original cast, since it was their yearning and ambition, not just Bennett's, which drove the original to begin with.
This movie attests to the fact that truth is stranger than fiction. Angelina Jolie's character, a
young, single mother, whose son is kidnapped, goes through a roller coaster of unbelieveable psychic injury and insult. The only thing worse than these mental, physical, and emotional assaults is the almost certain horror this character's son is likely to have experienced.
At the center of Clint Eastwood's film, Jolie shines in an uncharacteristicly subdued performance. Jolie is so gifted and interesting to watch and she has given a new twist to action hero roles, with her lithe athleticism and cool demeanor. In The Changeling, we see a quietly tormented mother who simply wants her child and life back.
Eastwood is a true master of letting a story unfurl and tell itself and, as an actor, knows how to get great performances out of every player, from bit role to leading lady.
Don't miss this excellent film.
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