After a dinner of homemade chili, cornbread, and tortilla chips, my gal pals and I decided to kick back and spend our Saturday evening watching a movie. What movie did we choose? The Changeling starring Angelina Jolie, of course. Here’s what we knew about the plot going in–Angelina Jolie was the main character; she was nominated for a ton of awards for her performance; she plays the part of a mother, whose son goes missing and is returned. We also knew that the foundling was not actually her son; he was a replacement.
What I wish I knew was that the movie had long drawn-out scenes of nightmarish violence against children, a public execution, and the inner halls of a mental hospital. Instead of enjoying the movie, being enthralled by the plot, or the acting, I am stunned stupid. For me, watching this movie was a horrible experience. I’m not even sure how to write a proper review.
And, yes, even though I’m almost 30, I thought, “My friends are going to think I’m so bizarre if I want to turn this movie off. They’ll be so disappointed because they wantto see it so bad.” In retrospect, I realize how foolish I was (how foolish I am). I mean, my friends already know I’m bizarre, right? That’s why they’re my friends. Next time, I’m going to walk away from a movie like The Changeling (even if Angelina Jolie is in it).
When a movie (or album or book) gets a lot of buzz, I want to check it out. I want to be part of the cool kids culture club and say, “Why, yes, I have seen that movie. Didn’t Angelina do a marvelous job in her role?” At the end of the day, buzz is just a lot of annoying noise.
If you like this movie, I think that’s OK, too. Lots of people can watch flicks like this and block out the disturbing parts; I’m just not one of those people. I think The Passion of the Christ is graphic and disturbing, too. It all comes down to taste, and that’s really what any more review is–the reviewer’s opinion based on his or her preferences. The Changeling taught me a lot about the importance of being honest about my feelings with my friends, why I should take the time to read the blurbs on the back of DVD cases, and finally, sometimes hype and buzz are just four letter words.