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on 26 April 2014
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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on 20 April 2008
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. Robin Wright Penn is almost unrecognisable as the trailer trash Starr (in a good way) while Renee Zellweger is perfect for the sweet but ultimately vapid Claire (though she is very different from the Claire in the book, who looks more like Audrey Hepburn and thinks too much). Patrick Fugit makes the most of his small role as the only boy of her age that Astrid actually likes.

Buy if: you want a chick flick with a sharp edge.
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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. This is a moving journey that says so much about what youth must survive through our pathetically damaged social system and deficient public policy. Lohman is amazing and so are the other stars. This a both great drama and social commentary.
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on 25 February 2008
A girl born without a father and raised by a mother who is a real Machiavelli of love, has one day to face her own life through hell when her mother is sent to prison for the murder of her boy friend because he had to let her go on their last meeting because he had a date, which she of course could not accept. The girl knows all the horror there can be in the kind of institution she finds herself sent to or in the foster homes she ends up in. She is nothing but a substitute for something the foster parents do not have, or the dream that her presence is going to solve their own problems, or whatever. But the worst part is of course her mother who is, from behind the wings, pulling the strings that pretend to protect the girl whereas she is only treating her as a possession that has to be defended for future use. She thus more or less creates temptation or even death in those foster homes that could have helped her daughter. When this daughter finally realizes her mother's game it is by far too late and she can only sever the tie, the connection, the link, the bond. And it is then that she builds a compensation and pretends she finally understands that her mother loved her. When it becomes obvious the mother will not be granted an appeal or win the one she may be granted and that she will not be granted parole the daughter has to more or less make it sound as if she were responsible for her mother's crime, her mother's destitution and even her mother's continuing ordeal she deserves quite a lot. Such mothers are puppeteers with their children, daughters, and they turn their daughters into musketeers who are fighting with their own reflection in a mirror, with their own shadows, when it is not with their own mothers' shadows.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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on 9 July 2009
A powerful film about love and control. i bought this as michelle Pfeiffer but alison lohman was brilliant as young girl growing up with love from a mother in prison for murdering her boyfriend. the vendor supllied this DVD on time and in good condition. its now part of my collection
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Alison Lohman stars as Astrid, an innocent teen thrust into the foster care system when her shrew of a mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) is convicted of murder. Astrid is first sent to Starr (Robin Wright Penn), a trashy, Bible-thumping trailer tramp. The next foster "mother" is Claire (Renee Zellweger), a needy, lonely actress-wannabe. The last stop is the flea-market life of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Astrid also stays at the county childrens home, where she meets Paul (Nick Fugit), a sensitive loner and soul-mate. Astrid's visits to her mother in prison are confrontational and serve as opportunities to pull away from her mother's vicious grasp.

I was a big fan of the novel, but this film is a luke-warm version of it. The script sounded like a first draft, a summary, a roll-call of characters; it lacked any emotional depth or character development. The direction was simplistic. Apparently someone thought they had a great idea: Take some beautiful, famous actresses and put them together and make a feminist statement! In fact, the actresses are wasted in small, undeveloped parts, with the exception of Lohman, who carries the film. The three adult parts lack grit and fire; The character of Astrid's mother needed to be an absolute psychotic filled with hatred. Likewise, the utter selfishness and cruelty of the "foster mothers" that made the novel so unforgettable are just not here. The dvd extras are unremarkable, except to show many of the best scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.

I cannot recommend this film, but those interested in a real look at the damage that can be done in the foster care system should read "White Oleander" by Janet Fitch.
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on 3 June 2004
This film is one that keeps you thinking about it a few days / weeks after you've seen it. The acting is excellent and the film has been very well produced and directed. I have not read the book and probably wont get around to it, but I hear it's even better (as they are). The film is a harsh but interesting story of young Astrid's teenage years and can be enjoyed by males and females even though it's probably more of a 'chick's flick'.
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on 6 April 2015
Many thanks for excellent goods, delivery and packaging.
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on 1 December 2014
Good film and good value.
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on 14 January 2015
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