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White Oleander (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama | 11 October 2002 (USA)
A teenager journeys through a series of foster homes after her mother goes to prison for committing a crime of passion.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)

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ON DISC
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Elisa Bocanegra ...
Girl in Fight
Darlene Bohorquez ...
Prisoner
Solomon Burke Jr. ...
Scott Allan Campbell ...
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Teacher
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Vernon Haas ...
Sean Happy ...
Dirt Bike Boyfriend
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Ray
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Storyline

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 wyrd_sista_187 <wyrd_sista_187@yahoo.com.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Where does a mother end and a daughter begin?

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements concerning dysfunctional relationships, drug content, language, sexuality and violence | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

11 October 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Laurier blanc  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,607,480 (USA) (11 October 2002)

Gross:

$16,346,122 (USA) (6 December 2002)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alison Lohman wore a wig/was bald throughout the whole film, because she had just previously filmed a role as a cancer patient. See more »

Goofs

When Astrid, Starr, and Carolee are driving to go get clothes, Starr refers to the reverend of their church as "Reverend Thomas." However, in every other scene before and after this, the reverend is referred to as "Reverend Daniels." Perhaps his name is Thomas Daniels. See more »

Quotes

Ingrid: Of course I was jealous. I live in a cell with a women who has a vocabulary of 25 words.
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Connections

Featured in HBO First Look: The Journey of 'White Oleander' (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

What's Inside Me
Written by Raile
Performed by Liars Inc.
Courtesy of Foodchain Records and Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

light review of weighty material
14 October 2002 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

The white oleander looks beautiful but its poison kills. Social service agencies take children from their abusive parents but place them in homes and institutions where violence reigns. Ingrid Magnussen (Michelle Pfeiffer) puts her daughter, Astrid (Alison Lohman), in the center of her artwork but pushes her to the perimeter of her reality. Life is a contradiction in which nothing is purely good or purely evil.

White Oleander is a story about life's contradictions and the complexities of control, power, loneliness, betrayal, loyalty, and love. Janet Fitch won rave reviews in 2000 for this novel; screenwriter Mary Agnes Donoghue did not match Fitch's brilliance, but turned a weighty narrative-both in terms of content and size-into an admirable film blueprint.

Director Peter Kosminsky and accomplished actresses Pfeiffer, Robin Wright Penn, Renée Zellweger, and newcomer Lohman used this blueprint to create a gripping film that both readers and nonreaders of the original text will appreciate.

Pfeiffer is as cool and controlling as she is stunning even in prison garb, and her mastery of personality subtleties deserves acclaim. Audiences will hate the character because she is too smart, too manipulative, and too real.

And anticipate an Oscar-worthy breakthrough performance from Lohman. She shines in her portrayal of a daughter who worships her mother until she realizes the superficial nature of her beauty and the cruelty of her heart. Ingrid Magnussen is not as perfect as she thinks, and her love is as poisonous as the white oleander.

Stereotypes cheapen some of the film's richness and choices made to avoid an `R' rating sap some of its strength, but overall the film is as compelling as its sad and truthful characters.


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