The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

Changeling ( MA15+): This ex­cep­tional film from Clint East­wood tells an ex­traor­di­nary true story from Los An­ge­les in the late 1920s. An­gelina Jolie is con­vinc­ing as a sin­gle mother whose beloved son dis­ap­pears in the strangest cir­cum­stances, made even stranger when the lo­cal po­lice at­tempt to im­pose on her a boy who, she knows, is not her son at all. Com­pelling. — David Stratton

Iden­tity cri­sis: An­gelina Jolie in Changeling

( M): This brave and ab­sorb­ing film, di­rected by Gus Van Sant, traces the ca­reer of Har­vey Milk, the first openly gay politi­cian to be elected to pub­lic of­fice in the US ( in San Fran­cisco in 1977). Sean Penn ( with a fine sup­port­ing cast) gives the per­for­mance of the year: pas­sion­ate, in­tense and ut­terly cap­ti­vat­ing, his ex­u­ber­ance tinged with in­ti­ma­tions of tragedy. — Evan Wil­liams

( M): Clint East­wood’s mas­terly drama ex­plores the lim­ited world of an el­derly, re­tired bluecol­lar worker, played by the di­rec­tor, who loathes the way his world is chang­ing but dur­ing the course of the film ex­pe­ri­ences forms of re­demp­tion and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. A de­cep­tively sim­ple film made by the last of the screen clas­si­cists. — D. S.

( M): Based on a novel by Richard Yates, di­rected by Sam Men­des and re­unit­ing Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio for the first time since , this film comes with high ex­pec­ta­tions, so it’s no slight to say it doesn’t quite match them. A story about a young mar­ried cou­ple dis­sat­is­fied with their life in the Amer­i­can sub­urbs in the 1950s, it is beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted with a strong fin­ish. — Kerrie Mur­phy

( M): At the cen­tre of this som­bre film by Bryan Singer is the per­for­mance of Tom Cruise as Count von Stauf­fen­berg, the man who led the failed plot to as­sas­si­nate Hitler in 1944. The sup­port­ing cast of mainly Bri­tish char­ac­ter ac­tors ( Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkin­son, Bill Nighy) adds to the dis­tinc­tion of its se­ri­ous ap­proach. — D. S.

( PG): Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin are or­phan sib­lings who go to great lengths to en­sure their foster par­ents re­main ig­no­rant of their dog, Fri­day. They turn an aban­doned ho­tel into a five-star dog refuge, full of con­trap­tions. Pre­dictable, but the pooches have plenty of charm. — K. M.

( MA15+): An as­tound­ing come­back for ac­tor Mickey Rourke and di­rec­tor Dar­ren Aronof­sky ( ). The box­ing drama about the fighter hav­ing one last crack at the ti­tle is trans­ferred to the strange world of pro­fes­sional wrestling and in this mov­ing story, Rourke is a lonely man seek­ing the love of two women. — D. S.

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