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Review: White Oleander (2002)

Director: Kosminsky | 110 minutes | drama | Actors: Alison Lohman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robin Wright, Renée Zellweger, Kali Rocha, Cole Hauser, Patrick Fugit, Billy Connolly,

“White Oleander” is a adaptation of Janet Fitch’s book of the same name. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t fare as well on screen as it does on paper. It is known that all events in a book do not all fit in a film of one and a half hours, there is a lot of selection. However, “White Oleander” lacks a few scenes that are so typical of Astrid’s life in the book and which make the reader feel completely inside her. For example, when she is attacked by wild dogs, leaving her face scars just after she started to like herself. In the film she is dragged to four different families, there is little time to get used to it as a viewer. On the one hand, this is annoying, because it is so difficult to determine how Astrid is developing in the family. On the other hand, it is good because you get the precise feeling that Astrid has, she is tossed back and forth and has nowhere to settle down completely.

Fortunately, the characters are portrayed strongly. Pfeiffer is beautiful and strong like Ingrid, no one can ignore her, not even in the scenes she doesn’t play in. The relationship between mother and daughter is so absurd that it is horrible to watch. Even though you begin to hate the mother herself, her fear of letting go of her daughter actually refers to her own insecurities and the fact that she was a bad mother who only thought about herself.

stars as trailer trash Starr, who goes to church smoking and wearing short pink skirts. She loves Astrid, but that love is soon over when she suspects that Astrid is after her boyfriend Ray. Starr is ruthless and shoots her in the hospital.

Zellweger portrays the sweet mother Claire as a broken doll. Both her appearance and behavior have something of a porcelain character. She is insecure and alone, which is why she and Astrid get along so well. The love that she cannot give to her husband, she gives to Astrid. Ultimately, her insecurity overcomes and Astrid is alone again.

Lohman, who plays Astrid, has been chosen from thousands of actresses and after her performance can also be named one of thousands. She is beautiful but does not realize it, insecure and on her guard. She changes from an insecure girl to a fighting woman, who needs only herself in the first place.

Urgent advice for this movie: Read the book first to get the feel and bond with the main character. Take that feeling with you to the movies and fill it in where necessary.

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