White Oleander - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

White Oleander Reviews

Page 1 of 108
April 4, 2017
Tough film with tough bitches, some psychopathic. Pretty good acting although sometimes the girls seemed to go one notch too far. Maybe it was the story. The girl was drawing much too well to be credible. The murder did not make sense. The first bitch was too mean to be Christian and adopting. Renée character was too happy and easy to suicide. Still, it was refreshing to depict women like this. Beware the bitches!
½ February 1, 2017
Touching, powerful drama about a girl struggling to find her own power in the world, in spite of being thrust into the lives of a plethora of dysfunctional women including her own charismatic, enigmatic, imprisoned birth mother played brilliantly by Michelle Pfeiffer.
September 26, 2016
Just because it's an all female cast don't be deceived into thinking that this is a Chickflick, instead it's an insight into the workings of the good, the bad and the ugly in people.
July 4, 2016
I saw it when I was 9 land I love it.

I remember a quote: "You look at me, and you don't like what you see. But this is the price, mother, the price of belonging to you."
½ June 5, 2016
Horrible and boring movie
March 18, 2016
I looved the book this movie was based from. There were portions of the book though that were excluded in the film that could have made me appreciate it more. Nevertheless, the message came across loud and clear.
½ August 17, 2015
A very interesting movie filled with wonderful performances from Alison Lohman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Renee Zellweger, and especially Robin Wright. The movie slows down during the Patrick Fugit relationship scenes but it is a very well written movie and the performances are too great to ignore
½ July 18, 2015
I never read the book but the story felt really fresh and the acting was convincing. It's hard not to fall in love with Lohman and her innocence in the film. Michelle Pfeiffer was fantastic in this movie as well. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
June 18, 2015
Well acted and finely scripted lively melodrama.
May 25, 2015
Powerful. Damn Michelle is intense.
January 31, 2015
strong performances all round, an emotional journey.
January 13, 2015
The depth, the tightly woven story, the amazingly perfect and consistently toned performances, the psychological twists and nuances portrayed here are a credit to all involved, especially Michele Pfeiffer as a mother of a manipulator. Stunning.
This stayed with me, well after watching the dvd.
December 3, 2014
Strong women. Slightly mad, all of them, but strong, outspoken and all looking for something. Sad destinies and stories that make you think...
½ November 8, 2014
Heavy and dark, but never really compelling. I can't say I really enjoyed or got much out of it. (First and only viewing - 11/8/2014)
September 25, 2014
Michelle Pfeiffer is surprisingly good as is Alison Lohman. But too much happens, it's not believable.
½ September 21, 2014
I picked this movie with very high expectations and was really dissapointed, never really understood what happend,the fosters moms and Astrid never really created a very touching bond and it was extremly slow, I found myself bored at times.
½ August 13, 2014
A very good drama with compelling performances from Allison Lohman and Michelle Pfeiffer. Even Renee Zellwegger is great here.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2014
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.
August 6, 2014
Well acted tale of a teen left to survive on her own in the foster system because her possessive selfish mother murdered her lover. Rather different and interesting.
½ July 25, 2014
White Oleander (Peter Kosminsky, 2002)
[originally posted 4Nov2002]

When a veteran director of awful TV movies helms the moving adaptation of an Oprah novel, the average viewer should probably be prepared for the worst. And from that point of view, this film is quite the pleasant surprise. It certainly beats the pants of other painfully bad Oprah-novel adaptations like The Deep End of the Ocean.

Kosminsky (whose only other big-screen appearance was an ill-thought-out but well-cast adaptation of Wuthering Heights a decade before this-remember that description, as it will become relevant here in a few minutes) and scriptwriter Mary Agnes Donoghue (Beaches, Deceived) take Janet Fitch's dysfunction-junction novel and pare out a good deal of the character development, leaving lots of action and a tale that centers more fully on the character of Astrid Magnusson (Alison Lohman, here doing her best Karen Carpenter impersonation). Problem is, while it's nice to have a strong central character, what they got rid of was in some places central to understanding what was going on in the film (for example, the sequence of events that land Astrid's mother Ingrid [Michelle Pfeiffer] in prison at the beginning of the film, which makes no sense to folks who haven't read the book).

Balancing out the plot holes and jerking around is a set of exceptionally well-drawn characters. Lohman and Pfeiffer both carry their roles quite well, and are backed up with an excellent supporting cast. Special mention should go to Renee Zellweger, who turns in the best job to date in her career, and Patrick Fugit (all gorwn up and not recognizable as the same annoying kid who got such a welcome comeuppance in the godawful TV movie Marabunta! a few years ago), Astrid's best pal and on-again off-again lover (whoops, they cut tat bit out of the movie. too...). Cole Hauser also turns in a fine performance, as he usually does; his role is cut down to the absolute basics, and is one of the places where the movie would have benefited from being a good half-hour or so longer.

All in all, it's a reprise of last year's In the Bedroom; some fine performances of some well-written characters in the midst of a script that never quite comes together. ** 1/2
Page 1 of 108