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Opal (2010)

Based on a true story about self-taught naturalist and cult icon Opal Whiteley.


Dina Ciraulo


Dina Ciraulo
1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Nayeli Adorador-Knudsen Nayeli Adorador-Knudsen ... Opal
George Maguire ... Gram Ellsworth
Gabriel Marin Gabriel Marin ... Ed
Carrie Paff ... Lizzie
Jonathan Leveck ... Stewart
Kevin Rolston Kevin Rolston ... Mr. Baxter
Paul Whitworth Paul Whitworth ... Lord Grey
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ben Beecroft Ben Beecroft ... Henry Whiteley
Alyssa Camargo Alyssa Camargo ... Young Opal
David Cramer David Cramer ... Professor
Kevin Crook Kevin Crook ... Reporter
Antonia Fuller ... Ruth
Amos Glick ... Brash Reporter
David Lance Goines David Lance Goines ... Printer
Joseph Graham Joseph Graham ... Clerk


Inspired by true events, Opal is story of self-taught naturalist Opal Whiteley. Raised in a logging camp in the early 1900s, Opal becomes an international sensation with the publication of her childhood diaries in the Atlantic Monthly. But things go awry when encoded messages are discovered in her writing, suggesting the diary may have been faked, and setting off a storm of controversy. Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

diary | naturalist | f rated | nature | hoax | See All (8) »



User Reviews

A young girl pieces together her ripped childhood diary, and is accused of lying when it is published.

"opal" is the true story of Opal Whitely, who grew up in the small town of Cottage Grove Oregon in the early 1900's. It's the Odyssey of Opal's diary-- the one she claims she kept as a child--the one she claims she scribbled on whatever scraps she found because her family was so poor. It's the diary she claims was ripped to shreds by a jealous younger sister (although, in the film, Opal has a brother). The diary she claims she painstakingly pieced back together. Is it true?...

As has been said, this film is beautifully shot with a great deal of natural light, as well as shadows and amazing close ups of butterflies and other insects. With exception to Opal having a brother (in the movie) rather than a sister, this film is otherwise faithful to characters and events, which is wonderful because that makes it easier to follow the story if you have not first read the book. Opal's diary has been published into several books. The book I read was called "the singing Creek: Where the Willows grow.". Another (earlier) work is simply called "The Story of Opal."

It is my personal opinion that reading one of the above mentioned makes it much easier to understand the film... And the depth of who Opal Whiteley was. I imagine this film was difficult to make because so much of the way Opal wrote was a "stream of consciousness" story. So in the film, the "sequence" of Opal's adult life is carried out. This helps with the flow of the story. The characters in Opal's life are also incredibly real and personable, which I adore, because Opal's diary itself is written with magical, childlike innocence.

It is my opinion that such an effort was taken to present Opal as a "real" person (which she was) that a great deal of her childlike magic is not seen on screen. This to me, is a bit unfortunate, because (if you haven't read the book) you can miss so much of the gem of a person Opal was. A bit of the events in the movie are also a little vague. In my opinion, this happened in the effort to preserve the "mystery" of Opal. Again, if one hasn't read any background on Opal, it can be difficult to connect this "sequence" of events (as an adult) to Opal the child, which is actually what this whole story is about... How the events of Opal's childhood are now affecting her as an adult. The events are certainly accurate, but the transitions in the movie are a bit understated...which will leave you wondering which part of Opal's life you are "watching" especially if you HAVE read the book first.

But all in all, this is a wonderful film because it was a brave undertaking. It pays homage to an extremely overlooked "character" in our literature. I don't think Opal's story has received the recognition it deserves...and this film helps spark fresh interest, and presents Opal as a flesh and blood person like the rest of us. It's a film that is to be "studied" I think. Seeing it one time doesn't do it justice. Very good.

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Release Date:

9 October 2010 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Bolinas, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Outpost Studios See more »
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