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
Many people in the film industry felt sure that Michelle Pfeiffer would receive an Oscar nomination for her turn as the murderous mother, but the film's failure at the box-office coupled with the aggressive marketing campaign for Chicago (2002) actresses Queen Latifah and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the same category, Pfeiffer failed to get a nomination. 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 »
You look at me mother and you don't like what you see. But this is the price... the price of belonging to you.
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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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