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White Oleander (2002)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  11 October 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 24,754 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 170 user | 103 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

A teenager journeys through a series of foster homes after her mother goes to prison for committing a crime of passion.



(novel), (screenplay)
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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


Where does a mother end and a daughter begin?



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

11 October 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Laurier blanc  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$436,812 (Australia) (20 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film in which Claire shows Astrid is 'The Return of the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' which Renee Zellweger actually starred in. See more »


Astrid says her father left when she was two years old when she talks with Ray, but toward the end of the movie, Ingrid tells Astrid her father left when she was six months old. See more »


Paul: I get this feeling like... you're not interested in guys.
Astrid: You're right, I'm not.
See more »


Features Dexter's Laboratory (1996) See more »


The Good Life
Written by Leslie Mills and Chris Pelcer
Performed by Leslie Mills
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

White Oleander - I got it - brilliant
10 November 2003 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

With no expectations of anything beyond the average I was aware as I viewed this film that it was a quality beyond most mainstream films currently available. We all left fairly stunned and stumbling into the daylight at the conclusion. Slowly devastatingly and utterly integral, at no point was the audience's intelligence insulted, the depth of characters, plot and script evenly executed with no room for anything but knowing we the audience were in for something special. Don't expect any black and white conclusions or answers, just the complexities of dynamics between kin and otherwise. . . brilliantly cast. I hope Michelle Pfieffer earns her first oscar here . . . comparable to American Beauty, I don't know why - but as poignant, beautiful, truthful and important. Beautiful soundtrack and to look at, pace perfect.

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
I'm sick of women and their feelings JaxSnyder
How old is Astrid when she has sex with Ray? duhduhfluntz
Astrid as a Goth... BlueEyedSuicide
Things I learned from White Oleander... bootifulsuka
for those who have read the book greenlight1784-1
I thought she killed him at HER HOUSE?? essbeep
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