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

Director:

Peter Kosminsky

Writers:

Janet Fitch (novel), Mary Agnes Donoghue (screenplay)
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amy Aquino ... Miss Martinez
John Billingsley ... Paramedic
Elisa Bocanegra ... Girl in Fight
Darlene Bohorquez Darlene Bohorquez ... Prisoner
Solomon Burke Jr. ... Guard
Scott Allan Campbell Scott Allan Campbell ... Bill Greenway
Sam Catlin ... Teacher
Debra Christofferson ... Marlena
Billy Connolly ... Barry Kolker
Marc Donato ... Davey Thomas
Svetlana Efremova ... Rena Gruschenka
Patrick Fugit ... Paul Trout
Vernon Haas Vernon Haas ... Guard
Sean Happy Sean Happy ... Dirt Bike Boyfriend
Cole Hauser ... Ray
Edit

Storyline

Astrid Magnussen (Alison Lohman) is a fifteen-year-old girl, living in California. Her mother, Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), is a beautiful, free-spirited poet and artist who also suffers from a borderline personality disorder (BPD). Their life, though unusual, is satisfying until one day, a man named Barry Kolker (Sir Billy Connolly) (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 favorite 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, ... 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Melissa McCarthy appeared briefly as the paramedic moving Astrid on a stretcher following the shooting at the foster home. 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

Astrid: You look at me, and you don't like what you see. But this is the price, Mother - the price of belonging to you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Additional scenes featured on the DVD release that is not from the final print:
  • A scene where Astrid defends her brother (in the first foster home) after Starr beats him up.
  • A scene immediately after featuring Astrid and her brother (still in the first foster home) lying to the parademic asking how he broke his arm.
  • A scene where Claire can't decide which cereal they want to eat for breakfast and makes Astrid choose one.
  • A scene featuring Claire and Astrid riding home in the car after visiting Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer). Claire tells Astrid what Ingrid told her.
  • A scene where Astrid is drawing Claire's picture and Mark asking Astrid if she took his pen.
  • A scene where Astrid leaves to go back to Mac. Mark asks Astrid if she wants to go to Claire's funeral in which she declines to. He then gives her a lot of money before getting to the van.
See more »

Connections

Features Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994) 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
See more »

User Reviews

 
extremely powerful film
13 October 2002 | by janefondafanSee all my reviews

First of all, those guys out there who see the posters and advertising and assume this is some sappy chick flick, you couldn't be more wrong. What it is, is an extraordinarily moving piece of work. It's the kind of film that hits you right in the pit of your stomach. Personally, my mind has a tendancy to wander during movies, but with this one, I was glued to it right from the first frame to the last. It's been awhile since I found myself so touched by a movie.. and it reminds me of why I love movies in the first place. The performances here are top notch. Alison Lohman (Astrid), I never even heard of her before going to see this... but she tackles this difficult role like she has the experience of an award-winning veteran. I'm not even sure most of the big names could pull off this role like she did. Michelle Pfeiffer (Ingrid), who I was never a big fan of, is also excellent...she has a character who's so beautiful, yet so repulsive at the same time. The mother/daughter relationship her character has with Alison's is probably the most unconventional i've seen in a film, and that's what makes it so compelling. Renee Zellweger, as Clare, also gives her best performance here. Her relationship with Astrid is a beautiful but ultimately a tragedy one, mainly due to Clare's infatuation with her cheating husband Mark (Noah Wyle), but I won't give it away of course! ;)

All I really have to say is, if you want to see a movie with strong performances throughout and an excellent story that will leave you fully satisified (and personally touched) when you leave the theatre, this one's for you. I highly reccomend it to everyone! One last thing I should say though... quite often when a movie comes out that's based on a book, the cliche seems to be for people to say "it wont be/wasnt as good as the book". Now, I never read the book to this movie... but the way I look at it, people need to judge the movie for the movie... not the book. If the directors were to follow the book word for word and detail for detail, we'd be left with a movie that would probably take days to watch. The advantage of a book is that you can have a complete knowledge of what the characters are feeling inside their head, which of course you can't always get in a movie unless they make it obvious or tell you how they're feeling truly. The advantage of a movie is that it brings it all to life... and let's you witness it for what it'd be like if you lived out the story. After all, if you were witnessing these actions in real life, you wouldn't have a book to help you understand what thoughts caused them. So, to all the people who go hating a movie before they even see it, just because it's based on a book... keep in mind that the book and movie are essentially two different things and that both have their advantages. I've honestly never seen a based-on-the-book movie where people were completely satisified with how it was translated to film. You can like both the book and movie separately, you know! :)

My rating: 10 out of 10... HIGHLY RECCOMENDED!!!


42 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 173 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

11 October 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

White Oleander See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,607,480, 13 October 2002

Gross USA:

$16,357,770

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,672,284
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed