The disturbing story of a California telephone-company employee in the late 1920s whose young son disappears, Changeling is in some ways a tribute to Angelina Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer at age 56, nine months before production began. ''When Brad [Pitt] saw Changeling he said he could see my mother,'' Jolie told EW in May. ''That was very much my mother. Hated yelling at people, really was so decent and so sweet, but when it came to protecting her children, she somehow found this odd strength.''
The film's matter-of-fact tone is a result of Clint Eastwood's famously economical directorial style. ''One day we were shooting a scene where she and I talk about her case,'' recalls John Malkovich, who plays a crusading local pastor. ''We started shooting at 9:30 a.m. and it was seven or eight pages, which is usually an 18-hour day. Around 2:30, Clint goes, 'That's lunch and that's a wrap.'... I've made close to 100 films now and that's certainly a phrase I've never heard in my entire life.''
OUR TWO CENTS The film's positive reception at Cannes means Jolie could finally earn her second Oscar nomination. 10/24
DEEP DIVE Read about the real-life Wineville Chicken Murders, on which the film is based, at MarkGribben.com