I didn't know what to expect from this movie and the synopsis sounded boring, but it turns out very gripping from start to finish. Clint Eastwood did his job very well. This is based on Wineville Chicken Coop Murders.
Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) lives in Los Angeles with her 9 year-old-son, Walter. In March 10, 1928, she returns from work and cannot find Walter. After searching in the neighbourhood, she reports that her son is missing to the police, who say she must wait for 24 hours and that Walter will have been home by the morning. Five months later, Christine is told that his son has been found. Her happiness soon is cut short, for the boy is not Walter. She tells the police, who tell her to give it a try. The police say that after 5 months, Walter has changed. However, Christine finds that the new Walter is 3 inches shorter. His teacher and the dentist also agree with her that the boy is not Walter. The police won't listen to her, because it will look bad to their image. On the other hand, Christine is upset because it means the police has stopped searching for her real son. At this point, she is helped by a priest (John Malkovich) - who is more like a politician to me. On the evening when she is supposed to tell her story on the priest's radio, she is taken by the police and 'escorted' to the psychiatric ward, where she meets many women who share her fate: they are locked up because they are dangerous to the police's reputation. Meanwhile, in a juvenile case, the police has caught a boy who has illegally entered the country from Canada. This boy has a terrible story for them, that his cousin has kidnapped and murdered 20 boys, and that one of the victims is Walter Collins.
It was annoying to see how the police handled this case. Not for once they confront the boy who claims to be Walter. They believe it's the mother who is wrong. However, it will be ridiculous to admit they have made a mistake. In the train station, where they brings Walter home, there are many journalists. When Christine tells them that it is not her son, if they admits their mistake, what will happen?
I like how the two trials are depicted: Christine Collins vs LAPD and the state vs Gordon Stewart Northcott. A wonderful editing, in my opinion. Also like the part when Arthur Hutchins, the little impostor, claims that it's actually the police's idea that he becomes Walter Collins. What a trouble he has caused, only because he wants to go to Hollywood and meets his favourite actor!