After a blurred trauma over the summer, Melinda enters high school a selective mute. Struggling with school, friends, and family, she tells the dark tale of her experiences, and why she has chosen not to speak.
Robert John Burke
Astrid Magnussen is a 15 year old girl, living in California. Her mother, Ingrid, is a beautiful, free-spirited poet. Their life, though unusual, is satisfying until one day, a man named Barry Kolker (that her mother refers to at first as "The goat man") comes into their lives, and Ingrid falls madly in love with him, only to have her heart broken, and her life ruined. For revenge, Ingrid murders Barry with the deadly poison of her favourite flower: The White Oleander. She is sent to prison for life, and Astrid has to go through foster home after foster home. Throughout nearly a decade she experiences forbidden love, religion, near-death experiences, drugs, starvation, and how it feels to be loved. But throughout these years, she keeps in touch with her mother via letters to prison. And while Ingrid's gift is to give Astrid the power to survive, Astrid's gift is to teach her Mother about love. Written by
Strong performances by Lohman, Penn, Zellweger and especially Michelle Pfeiffer in a faithful adaptation of Janet Fitch's novel. Not hard to see why this one didn't attract more attention in theaters, since it lacks the ingredients that seem to characterize hit films nowadays -- such as action, violence, sex and stunning special effects. It's just a very moving story, well-crafted and well-acted. I'd recommend it to anyone.
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