- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Or rather, a crowning third act of justice as Northcott is captured and sentenced to death, and the police force is disgraced in court by Collins' attorney, S.S. Hahn.
- Hahn himself counts as a crowning character of awesome. The film's first two acts are difficult to watch due to the blatant injustice that Collins suffers, but then she is released from the institution and the third act is a powerhouse of justice against the police force led by Hahn. It's an incredibly satisfying conclusion, remarkably so given that the film ends with Christine still without her son.
- Hate Sink: All of the antagonists demand the audience's utter disgust, even those with mildly good intentions are conveyed as smug, vicious and utter remorseless in deceiving and torturing Collins. It's even more disturbing since they are based on real people.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The film's title is a reference to the changelings of fairy lore. Angelina Jolie would later go on to play a certain evil fairy.
- Moral Event Horizon: While Northcott obviously crossed it a long time before the film, YMMV over when Jones crosses it. Certainly by the time he has Christine committed to the psychopathic ward, he's gone far past any point where he could convince himself he was trying to help her, and his own expression as she's dragged away shows that he's aware he's crossed the line.
- Nightmare Fuel: Sanford's confession to the police makes the one from Se7en look like a church book club discussion.
- Any parent who watches this movie will have a hard time sleeping afterwards.
- Paranoia Fuel: The police can replace your missing child with a random runaway, convince everybody in your neighborhood that your protests as to his real identity are not just wrong, but signs of abuse from you, and eventually throw you into a mental institution without a warrant just to shut you up. And this really happened.
- The Woobie: Christine Collins