Sunday, October 11, 2009

White Oleander (2002)

This plot journeys through a battle between two women--main character, Astrid (Jennifer Lohman), and her mother, Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer). Artist Ingrid is narcissistic, controlling and icy. They share a mother-daughter relationship with few boundaries; mother treating daughter as an equal and a confidante. Ingrid lectures Astrid about how to treat men and how not to let men and the world treat you.

Protégée and mentor

When Barry enters Ingrid's life, he doesn't play by her rules. When Ingrid commits a crime of passion and goes to jail for murder, teen Astrid enters foster care. Her first placement is with born-again Starr (Robin Wright Penn). Former addict Starr clashes with her own teenage daughter who has grown up fast and doesn't listen to or respect her. Starr begins suspecting an attraction between her boyfriend Ray (Cole Hauser) and Astrid. As Ray and Astrid spend time together, their attraction flourishes. Soon, Starr unhinges and Astrid is placed in another home. This time, Claire (Renée Zellweger), a former actress, and Astrid forge a close relationship, but Claire's troubles with her husband, Mark (Noah Wyle), threaten to undo the decent home in which she's landed. Astrid lands in the juvenile system with other older kids. In that institution, she befriends Paul (Patrick Fugit) with whom she gets close. Through her placements, Astrid continues to visit Ingrid in prison. Their relationship becomes more adversarial as time passes and Astrid begins to break free of her mother's spell. Screen goddesses Pfeiffer and Wright Penn lose themselves in their characters and excel. They add a special touch to this little movie adapted from the eponymous novel by Janet Finch.

Director: Peter Kosminsky

Country: US

Genre: Drama

Run time: 110 minutes

Scale: 4

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