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White Oleander [DVD] [2003]

15 customer reviews

Price: £8.99
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Product details

  • Actors: Michelle Pfeiffer, Renée Zellweger, Robin Wright, Alison Lohman, Amy Aquino
  • Directors: Peter Kosminsky
  • Writers: Janet Fitch, Mary Agnes Donoghue
  • Producers: E.K. Gaylord II, Hunt Lowry, Ilyse A. Reutlinger, John Wells, Kristin Harms
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Warner
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Feb. 2004
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00012SYYQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,547 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


White Oleander tells an unforgettable story of the relationship between a mother, Ingrid and her daughter, Astrid. When Ingrid is jailed for a crime of passion, Astrid is shunted through a series of Los Angeles foster homes – each its own universe with its own laws, dangers and hard lessons to be learned. Whilst Ingrid tries to give Astrid the power to survive, Astrid tries to show her mother how to love her in what becomes a redeeming journey of self-discovery. Based on the acclaimed best-selling novel by Janet Fitch, White Oleander stars an impressive cast including Michelle Pfeiffer (What Lies Beneath), Renee Zellweger (Chicago), Alison Lohman (Matchstick Men) and Robin Wright Penn (The Pledge).

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Grace on 26 April 2014
Format: DVD
The film was a master piece and done so well by the actors. I couldn't help but feel all of loneliness and insecurity of Claire in her final moments and how she felt defeated so defeated she literally wanted to curl up and die. The beautiful Astrid was truly out of her mind with desperation when the only real person who showed her what it was like to be loved for herself was dying. Ingrid was excellent as the narcissist mother whose daughter could only aspire to be her mirror image as far as Ingrid was concerned. She didn't care about her daughters needs and feelings at all. I watched the movie over and over as it was like watching my own life story. I never understood my past until I realized I was dealing with a narcissist mother like Ingrid and their just was no way to get her to truly love me. The best part was when Ingrid broke away and found Paul and was finally free of her mother. I knew that feeling to when I found my spouse in Europe. You see you can never get far away enough from these people or they will run and ruin your life. Also Robin Wright did an excellent job portraying those fake moralist foster families allot of them are out for the money and to get you do their chores which never finish. I had one who liked to spy on all the kids then go and refer what they said and did. She was evil and made the boys stand up all night until her husband came home in the morning after the night shift just because they had a one-time pillow fight and God knows how they needed to have some fun for once. I got sick and she made me sit outside in the cold on the porch steps and then threw two aspirins at me that I never found.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Star_Sea on 20 April 2008
Format: DVD
Astrid has grown up in the shadow of her beautiful but manipulative mother, Ingrid. With no father on the scene, Ingrid is all that Astrid has, until she poisons a lover with the white oleander of the title. While Ingrid is sent to prison for life, Astrid is thrown into the chaos of the US foster system. She is first sent to the home of Starr, a recovering alcoholic and a born-again Christian. Astrid quickly adapts herself to her new surroundings and all seems fine, until her adolescent charms attract the attention of Starr's boyfriend. All hell breaks loose and Astrid ends up living in a government complex with other kids in the same situation, only much tougher and more aggressive. She quickly finds another home, however, with Claire, a depressive actress. Claire seems to be the mother that Astrid has always longed for: attentive, thoughtful, caring. But Ingrid is still lurking in the background and wastes no time in taking out this threat to her domination over Astrid. Ironically, this is what starts Astrid's real rebellion against her mother and her search for answers.

The film is a good adaptation of the book, though a lot of the grimmer parts (such as the underage sex and the harshness of being a foster child) have been toned down or cut out altogether. Alison Lohman is a wonderful Astrid: her wide eyes perfectly portray Astrid's vulnerability and hurt at what happens to her. She also morphs very well as Astrid takes on the role each mother assigns her: faithful accolyte, demure virgin, intelligent artist, street-wise market girl. Meanwhile, Michelle Pfeiffer has never been more chilling as Ingrid: the film makes good use of her icy beauty and sharp cheekbones to reveal Ingrid's self-absorption and cruelty.
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By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD
This is an absolutely first rate film, of a girl who must overcome a childhood with a manipulative, crazy, destructive single mother. The cast is simply stunning: Wright Penn, Zellweger, and Pfeiffer in perhaps her greatest performance.

The situation is that an adolescent, when her mother goes to prison, must go into the foster care system. What she experiences, as is the stuff of narratives, is truly horrible. Any time that she builds a relationship, it is destroyed or revealed as worthless. Throughout all of this, she begins to see her birth mother for what she is, and seeks to go her own way.

But her mother, even from prison, can control events by the relationships she can create. All over again, it is like a recapitulation of the daughter's entire life, which spurs her to seek the truth even at the cost of traducing her inner self. They have a terrible fight, played almost entirely off stage but understood in moments of simple dialogue, that is the fight for the girl's life itself.

Alison Lohman, as the daughter, is simply extraordinary. There is not a moment that rings false or hollywood-chinsey, but her pain and struggle is achingly real. Of course, the character has some talent, as an artist like her mother, but also in her ability to form relationships. She has seen so much pain and self-destruction, that she learns she must fend for herself. I do not think I have ever seen a film that succeeds so completely as a coming of age drama of finding a path through the pain. She becomes tough, but she does not lose the perceptive sensitive core that might show her a way to become a healthy, loving adult. It is amazing to watch and there is not a jot of sentimentality, only realistic tragedy and growth for what it is worth.

Warmly recommended.
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