White Oleander Reviews

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Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 11, 2002
The film takes the materials of human tragedy and dresses them in lovely costumes, Southern California locations and star power.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
October 11, 2002
Most of the darker parts of the book have been brightened up, making the movie feel shallow.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Nick Schager
Matinee Magazine
November 10, 2002
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Eric D. Snider
October 12, 2002
Full Review | Original Score: C
Kit Bowen
October 11, 2002
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Brian Gibson
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
December 1, 2003
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.
Joe Baltake
Sacramento Bee
October 25, 2002
'Synthetic' is the best description of this well-meaning, beautifully produced film that sacrifices its promise for a high-powered star pedigree.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Jeffrey Westhoff
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
October 11, 2002
Rather than investigate the dire life of a teenage girl whose only female role models are atrocious human beings, White Oleander dubiously follows the formula of the female weepie.
| Original Score: 2/4
Jeremy Heilman
September 17, 2002
The melodramatic machinations of Peter Kosminsky's well-intentioned chick flick White Oleander don't exactly come as surprise or a disappointment, but it ultimately fails to live up to promise of its all-star cast.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
MaryAnn Johanson
Flick Filosopher
October 22, 2002
Feng-shuied into fabricated exactness at the expense of an organic authenticity.
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
October 10, 2002
It plays like a synopsis, jumping from scene to scene, grief to grief, and it doesn't let us relax into the various worlds it's creating.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 10, 2002
The estrogen overload damn near did me in.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
October 10, 2002
In the end, White Oleander isn't an adaptation of a novel. It's a flashy, star-splashed reduction.
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 11, 2002
This is a third-person story now, told by Hollywood, and much more ordinary for it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
October 11, 2002
A movie that wafts in and out of clarity like a wavering transmission.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Susan Tavernetti
Palo Alto Weekly
May 20, 2003
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine
October 8, 2002
An Oprah Book of the Month gets the Lifetime Movie of the Week treatment in Peter Kosminsky's consistently hysterical White Oleander.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Michael Miller
Village Voice
October 8, 2002
Ultimately sacrifices nuance to tidy epiphanies about personal growth.
Mark Palermo
Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
October 14, 2002
There's unfortunately too much story for too little film time.
Josh Larsen
Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
October 10, 2002
Features another Oprah heroine...who earns nobility and respect through contrived suffering.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall
September 20, 2003
Leonard Maltin
Leonard Maltin's Picks
December 23, 2002
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile
October 18, 2008
Cynthia Fuchs
Nitrate Online
October 11, 2002
Katrina Onstad
National Post
October 13, 2002
Top Critic

Arizona Republic
October 11, 2002
Top Critic

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 11, 2002

Boston Phoenix
October 12, 2002

Orlando Weekly
October 21, 2002

Sydney Morning Herald
June 20, 2003

October 1, 2003

February 1, 2004
Top Critic

Time Out
January 26, 2006
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