Saw Changeling last night- thanks to lovefilm I'm getting through a fair few films I doubt I would ever have seen, and happily I'm liking them, so all good good!

Changeling tells the true story about mother Caroline Collins who discovers her son Walter has gone missing whilst she was working. It's 1928 in the time when people didn't wrap up their kids in cotton wool as much as they do now. (I think I'll talk about that a bit more later on.)

When she returns home from work, she discovers Walter has gone missing. Several months later the police tell her they have found her son and reunite them- the only problem is, it's not her son at all. The police try to tell her that he's obviously changed over the months - they are anxious to get people to believe they are doing their job well. Therefore when Caroline goes to the press to publicly declare the boy is not her son, they are quick to say she is not sound of mind and ship her off to a mental hospital.

This is not an easy or light hearted film and in the first half hour you wonder how it's ever going to get going. But the treatment of patients at the mental hospital and the subsequent revelation of what happened to Walter make for more gripping stuff and Angelina Jolie injects a wealth of feeling into the role of Caroline. From the outset the colours of the film are the muted browns and greys associated with the early 1930s but this helps to evoke the era quite well.

I enjoyed Changeling- it wasn't an easy or particularly pleasant film, and was nothing like I expected it to be. But it is an important story to be told, especially given that the events were real.

As for wrapping up children in cotton wool nowadays, I'm totally against it. Yes the world moves at a far faster pace today than even in the 1980s when I grew up, and yes there undoubtedly some bad people around, but surely there always have been. When I was a child I would play out all day, riding my bike around the neighbourhood and even going off to make dens in fields and woods. Today it would be almost unthinkable for many parents to let their children out on their own or to leave them at home on their own.

What problems does thsi create though? As a teacher I have seen many of these problems. The children (and teenagers too) tend to be highly reliant upon their parents to do everything for them and have low skills of independence. This can also translate into their schoolwork when they expet it a to be done for them. Children nowadays spend much of their time cooped up playing on their X Boxes or Playstations, probably becuase they have never properly learned how to play outside or because their parents have never let them. And on school trips the amount of children who have never learned to cross a road properly becuase their parents have always done it for them is quite shocking. These children have no concept of risk becuase they have spent their entire pampered lives wrapped up in cotton wool, and when they reach the world of adulthood they are going to get one big huge shock. The only thing is, mummy and daddy will probably be there then too to pick up the pieces once again.