White Oleander details
|Starring:||Michelle Pfeiffer, Billy Connolly, Renee Zellweger, Alison Lohman, Robin Wright Penn|
|Run time:||1 hour 45 minutes|
|Rental release:||20 Feb 2004|
Most helpful review
Late blooming filmBy Nigel Burris from Basildon, Essex , 20 Mar 2004
[Highly rated reviewer]White Oleander is a clunky title for a fairly smooth ride of a film, one which takes the viewer on a journey through the teenage years of Astrid, as she copes with her mother's incarceration for murder, a variety of foster homes and care centres, and finding herself in amongst all the chaos of other people's lives.
This is a surprisingly light movie given its somewhat serious themes and framework. Murder, suicide, abandonment, mental abuse - all are handled in such a way as to never fully engage the viewer's sympathy for Astrid and what she has to go through. The film needs to be a bit more gritty.
That said, there are lots of things to enjoy here, not least the performances. Alison Lohman as Astrid is amazing (she's even better in Matchstick Men), and holds her own in scenes with the likes of Robin Wright Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer in particular, is incredibly effective as Astrid's domineering mother. Even the smaller roles are well cast, and Peter Kosminsky's direction is admirable. The script is a little cliched in places, and a couple of scenes don't ring true, but only a couple.
If anything, White Oleander is a woman's movie told from the point of view of a child as she grows up. It has the requisite number of setbacks, and set-to's, and unfolds at a steady, methodical pace which helps the material enormously. The measured editing style also helps add nuance to things. If it doesn't succeed entirely, it is because the material, when all's said and done, requires more depth of feeling than it has been given. Still worth watching, though, so give it a try.
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Good for a Sunday afternoonBy a customer from Newcastle, England , 11 Oct 2005After reading the book and really enjoying it I looked forward to watching the film.As usual the film disappointed me in comparison, missing out lots of parts I felt the story needed to keep it going.
Michelle Pfeiffer plays a great character but is almost her usual all-suspecting lip twitching self. If you haven't read the book it's worth watching if you don't feel like too much action and you don't mind it looking a bit like an american telly film.
disappointingBy a customer from london, england , 27 Sep 2005I can understand why this went straight to dvd. After reading what was a gripping book this turned out to be totally disappointing and with such a great cast too! Dont understand what went wrong.
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strange - but stay with itBy a customer from east sussex , 31 Aug 2005this was a little strange until I realised that every scene was crucial to the one before and the one after - given that it was based on a true story may explain the need to pay attention - I found the Mother selfish despite my trying to excuse her for her actions(as well as naive at times, particularly with other adults) - her attitude to how others live was narrow minded particularly when she was adamant that her daughter had to mirror her way of life - she should have let her daughter decide how she would live for herself - the daughters strength of character saw this through as she debated/argued with her Mother at times - presumably this trait was a legacy from her Mother which the daughter ultimately used to fight her Mother - a good film but one has to pay attention as to how today affects tomorrow
film for the ladiesBy a customer from chelmsford,essex , 24 Aug 2005if you have read the book you will enjoy this film.lots of famous actors and actresses play parts. one to watch on a sunday afternoon with a bottle of wine and a big box of chocs!!!!
Michelle Pfeiffer as you've never seen her beforeBy a customer from Birmingham , 23 Aug 2005..gives a strong performance as a bohemian tough mother.
A predominantly female cast makes this moveie more of a chick flick but recommended viewing.