100% John Wick Oct 24
No Score Yet Ouija Oct 24
No Score Yet 23 Blast Oct 24
56% Laggies Oct 24
54% White Bird in a Blizzard Oct 24

Top Box Office

79% Fury $23.7M
88% Gone Girl $17.5M
77% The Book of Life $17.0M
64% Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day $11.5M
8% The Best Of Me $10.0M
23% Dracula Untold $10.0M
47% The Judge $7.9M
31% Annabelle $7.9M
62% The Equalizer $5.4M
63% The Maze Runner $4.4M

Coming Soon

86% Goodbye to Language 3D Oct 29
48% Saw Oct 31
83% Nightcrawler Oct 31
56% Before I Go to Sleep Oct 31
50% Horns Oct 31

White Oleander (2002)


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 133
Fresh: 93
Rotten: 40

Critics Consensus: Strong performances by the lead actresses make White Oleander a compelling female melodrama.

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 21
Rotten: 12

Critics Consensus: Strong performances by the lead actresses make White Oleander a compelling female melodrama.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 50,484


Movie Info

A drama which chronicles the life of Astrid, a young teenager who journeys through a series of foster homes after her mother goes to prison for committing a crime of passion. Set adrift in the world, Astrid struggles to become her own person while coming to terms with the challenges of living life on her own.

PG-13 (for mature thematic elements, drug content, language, sexuality and violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
Mary Agnes Donoghue
In Theaters:
Mar 11, 2003
Box Office:
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

Critic Reviews for White Oleander

All Critics (146) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (93) | Rotten (40) | DVD (22)

A smart, compelling drama.

Full Review… | October 19, 2002
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

The film is worth seeing for its honest heart and for the magnificent acting.

Full Review… | October 14, 2002
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Though it flirts with bathos and pathos and the further Oprahfication of the world as we know it, it still cuts all the way down to broken bone.

October 11, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

A movie that wafts in and out of clarity like a wavering transmission.

Full Review… | October 11, 2002
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Much of the pleasure to be had in White Oleander is in watching its female stars revel in their screen time.

Full Review… | October 11, 2002
Seattle Times
Top Critic

What should have been a guaranteed weepie is never truly moving.

Full Review… | October 11, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Upsetting and dark, for older than PG-13.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

A truly involving, well-written and entertaining film supported by excellent performances...

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Distinguishing it from Oxygen channel territory is its surprisingly hard edge.

Full Review… | December 30, 2008

Lohman appears in nearly every scene and gives an assured, sympathetic performance as Astrid.

Full Review… | June 25, 2004

The daughter's story is often haunting, but Peter Kosminsky's film . . . comes unglued because the mother is the stock psychotic villainess of countless Hollywood films.

December 1, 2003
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

An emotionally powerful story with some electrifying performances.

Full Review… | August 29, 2003
Laramie Movie Scope

Almost turns human misfortune into a costume parade.

Full Review… | June 29, 2003
Sunday Times (Australia)

Like the titular flower of its title, "White Oleander", will sting your senses and turn you cerulean with feeling as its Petals of gorgeousness, and stems of the finest celluloid work its way into your system.

May 12, 2003

Although its plot suffers from some plausibility issues, it shows that Kosminsky's style is certainly evolving into something worth attention.

Full Review… | February 8, 2003
Film Quips Online

This soapy gem can be overlooked by the star-studded element that enhances the feminine message of misplaced empowerment. White Oleander is a cinematic flower that could use some more blooming but the scent is still pleasing enough to acknowledge

Full Review… | January 13, 2003

No matter how restrained the direction or unsentimental the performances ... there is no escaping the semi-trashy but oh-so-life- affirming ring of the plot.

Full Review… | January 8, 2003
Dallas Observer

If the screen version of White Oleander was an Olympic event, it's hard to tell which of the movie's four actresses would end up winning the gold.

November 20, 2002
Creative Loafing

Pfeiffer is not an actress with much sense of mystery, so it's hard to swallow her dangerous mommy-mystique shtick.

Full Review… | November 19, 2002

The picture benefits greatly from a superb cast and merciless editing -it churns forward, jumping and jolting along, memorably echoing the upheavals in Astrid's life.

Full Review… | November 11, 2002
Film Experience

'Synthetic' is the best description of this well-meaning, beautifully produced film that sacrifices its promise for a high-powered star pedigree.

Full Review… | October 25, 2002
Sacramento Bee

A broad, melodramatic estrogen opera that's pretty toxic in its own right.

Full Review… | October 24, 2002
Film Freak Central

Feng-shuied into fabricated exactness at the expense of an organic authenticity.

Full Review… | October 22, 2002
Flick Filosopher

One of those films that has us choking back a derisive howl at all its platitudes about 'honesty' - because an honest moment is impossible to find.

October 19, 2002
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

A little cleaned up and oversimplified. However, especially when it's focusing on the core mother-daughter relationship and L.A.'s foster mis-care system, the film is good, strong stuff.

Full Review… | October 18, 2002
Los Angeles Daily News

Audience Reviews for White Oleander

On a rewatch, not quite as good as I remembered, but still liked it.
Interesting story about a poisonous mother and the harm caused to her teenage daughter, even while she's in prison after murdering an ex boyfriend for rejecting her.
The movie follows Astrid as she is shunted from foster home to foster home, yet still unable to break away totally from her mother who "would rather see her in the worst type of foster hell" than living with a decent foster mother.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

White Oleander covers some interesting and actually rather ordinary issues through extraordinary situations. Michelle Pfeiffer's character is very well written and she does the role justice, it's just a shame the other characters are all either exaggerated or cliched. The idea that a Mother can bring up her daughter while in prison is cleverly realised in the dialogue but some of the scenarios are so ludicrous, it spoils a lot of the good work. It has to be said too that if you are adverse to bad wigs as I am, then you may want to prepare yourself for pure disbelief. Much better than anticipated but the realism is a little too shaky to be taken too seriously. Watch for Michelle Pfeiffer's great performance.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

Really good and interesting story with brilliant performances.

Sophie Burgess

Super Reviewer

Alison Lohman is not, in my opinion, the best choice for a protagonist for this one, but Michelle Pfeiffer's never blinking reptile eyes are just about perfect. The story is rather lackluster, but the acting power can be quite extraordinary when handled correctly.

Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

White Oleander Quotes

Astrid Magnussen:
Looks don't interest me.
Paul Trout:
That's easy for you to say. You've never been ugly.
– Submitted by Frances H (2 months ago)
Ingrid Magnussen:
Loneliness is a human condition.
– Submitted by Marian A (21 months ago)
Ingrid Magnussen:
Love humiliates you, Hatred cradles you.
– Submitted by Meg B (23 months ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss White Oleander on our Movie forum!