Clint Eastwood as director is a masterful story teller. His films are riveting, heart wrenching, graphic and raw. Changeling is no exception and was nominated for three Academy Awards this year, but no cigar.
The film is based on a true story and is set in late 1920's Los Angeles. Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) is a working single mother, raising her nine-year-old son Walter (Gattlin Griffith), when tragedy suddenly strikes. Called to work unexpectedly, she leaves the young lad at home. When she returns, he's gone.
The first part of the movie revolves around the search for the boy, her frustration with the police department and her despair -- Jolie gives good despair. Five months later the police produce a child who claims to be the Collins boy. Mom is elated but we know the child is not hers, given the all-too-telling trailer and the very name of the flick, and guess what? It's not her son, which she points out immediately, and still the Los Angeles police foist the foundling on her. The police turn out to be manipulating and corrupt to the core. She takes them on like the stoic fighter she is, for which she pays dearly.
And then comes the gruesome plot thickener. Enter the good cop, Detective Lester Ybarra (Michael Kelly) who gets called out on a routine juvenile warrant only to stumble onto the ranch of a psychopathic child killer, through the arrest and testimony of young Sanford Clark (Eddie Alderson). Alderson gives an amazing performance as the brutalized pre-teen, now damaged for life. Then the question for the rest of the film is "Was Walter murdered or not?"
Christine Collins finally gets some much needed help in the form of Rev. Gustav Briegleb (John Malkovich) who supports her in her fight for truth and justice and in her historic case against the LAPD.
I could not stop watching this movie and stayed up way too late to finish it. Luckily for me, I had a great companion -- a bottle of California's fine Sebastiani Secolo Red 2006 ($44.95 CND, $27.30 USD), which I don't drink on a Wednesday usually, but I felt like giving myself a treat.
This wine hails from delicious Sonoma County, located on the north coast of California. The Sebastiani winery
was purchased in 1904 by Tuscan born Samuele Sebastiani, and the winery is one of an estimated 50 Sonoma County wineries to have survived the prohibition era, which is the backdrop for Changeling
. The winery today is still family run, and their dedication to superior craftsmanship is obvious with each sip.
Secolo means "century" in Italian. This Bordeaux style blend began as a proprietor's selection to celebrate the winery's rich, long history, and the blend and vineyard composition change annually. The 2006 vintage boasts 69 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 18 percent Merlot, 7 percent Malbec and 6 percent Petite Verdot. The wine was aged for 14 months in new and one-year-old French and Hungarian oak barrels, adding to the intense aromatics.
As expected with the ratio of Cabernet Sauvignon, the nose is heavily berry and cherry, with notes of mocha and spiced plum. The mouth feel is refined yet packed with full fruit and exotic herbs and spices. The tannins are smooth and the balance is superb, allowing for full fruit expression. There is a lot going on inside this wine, but it comes together with elegance and style -- much like our heroin, Christine Collins.
Jill Vanderkooy, Sommelier and certifiable bon vivant, has worked in the wine industry for over 10 years, has been drinking wine for 25 years and is a true devotee of film across all genres. Her liver thanks you for reading.