7.1/10
28,574
168 user 104 critic

White Oleander (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama | 11 October 2002 (USA)
Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
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)
Reviews
Popularity
4,074 ( 1,904)
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The Deep End of The Ocean is a film about a family's reaction when Ben, the youngest son is kidnapped and then found nine years later, living in the same town, where his family had just moved.

Director: Ulu Grosbard
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Treat Williams, Whoopi Goldberg
One Fine Day (1996)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The lives of two strangers and their young children unexpectedly intersect on one hectic, stressful day in New York City.

Director: Michael Hoffman
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, George Clooney, Mae Whitman
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An ex-Marine turned teacher struggles to connect with her students in an inner city school.

Director: John N. Smith
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, George Dzundza, Courtney B. Vance
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An ambitious young woman, determined to build a career in TV journalism, gets good advice from her first boss, and they fall in love.

Director: Jon Avnet
Stars: Robert Redford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stockard Channing
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

David Lewis is affected by the death of his wife Gillian, who fell from the mast pole of their boat on a sailing trip two years ago. David deals with his grief by continuing his romance ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Pressman
Stars: Peter Gallagher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Ben and Katie Jordan are a married couple who go through hard times in fifteen years of marriage.

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Colleen Rennison
Thirteen (2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A thirteen-year-old girl's relationship with her mother is put to the test as she discovers drugs, sex, and petty crime in the company of her cool but troubled best friend.

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Stars: Evan Rachel Wood, Holly Hunter, Nikki Reed
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

"King Lear" set on a farm in Iowa.

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Love Field (1992)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When a woman enrout to JFK's funeral befriends a black man's daughter, they experience numerous revelations and hardships.

Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Dennis Haysbert, Stephanie McFadden
I Am Sam (2001)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mentally handicapped man fights for custody of his 7-year-old daughter and in the process teaches his cold-hearted lawyer the value of love and family.

Director: Jessie Nelson
Stars: Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning
Miss Potter (2006)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The story of Beatrix Potter, the author of the beloved and best-selling children's book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", and her struggle for love, happiness and success.

Director: Chris Noonan
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson
Nurse Betty (2000)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Comedy about a widow's post-traumatic obsession with a soap star.

Director: Neil LaBute
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock
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. 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 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

11 October 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Laurier blanc 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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Paul: I was born addicted to heroin.
Astrid: And what was that like?
Paul: I don't know - I was out of rehab by the time I was six months old.
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

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Hottest Goth Girls in Movies (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Bang Bang
Written by Steve Clark and Tom McKay
Performed by Vibrolux
By Arrangement with June St. Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A parade of great scenes, great acting, and teenage angst
24 January 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

White Oleander (2002)

The harrowing journey of a teenage girl through a series of foster parent and foster home situations because her mother went to jail for murder. On the surface this is about survival in a hostile world, and one layer down it's about getting to know her mother and what a mother's love is all about. But even deeper we get to know what this adolescent girl is all about, with growing complexity, and growing interest and concern.

There are two keys here, the layered and ever changing story, based on the bestseller by the same name, and the lead actress, Alison Lohman. Both Lohman and director Peter Kosminsky come out of television work, and for Lohman, this is her breakout film into Hollywood (she was in a Ridley Scott movie after this, and then played the young Jessica Lange character in the fabulous "Big Fish" a couple years later). Lohman makes her character really sympathetic but in a hardened way, never cloying, and never clichéd.

But she has fabulous support along the way. Two of her foster mothers are given juicy roles that are played with conviction--Robin Wright Penn as a born again floozy, Renee Zelwegger as a needy but caring actress out of work--and her biological mother is played with icy slipperiness by Michelle Pfeiffer. That's a weirdly amazing cast. And well constructed, very serious. In all, the editing is usually pretty fast, the filming is visually smart without being overly seductive, and the writing (and screen writing) is sharp as an Xacto knife.

All the while, watching and being impressed, you will also realize it's "just a movie." You can feel the presence of the film world, a glitzing up of characters, an unavoidable pandering to clichés to make it look and feel pretty. I don't mean that a hardhitting drama about the tragedy of a young girl's life has to be gritty and truthful and meaningful--but that was a possibility. And you can see how this film might have been something intensely moving without resorting to filmmaking tearjerker tricks (like the repeated glances through the windows near the end) or a bizarre deal-making finale.

Reservations aside, I found myself more absorbed with each scene. A nice surprise.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 168 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed