White Oleander (movie)
White Oleander is a 2002 American drama movie set in California. It stars Alison Lohman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robin Wright Penn and Renee Zellweger. It was directed by Peter Kosminsky and is based on the novel of the same name.
Plot[change | change source]
Ingrid (Pfeiffer) is a photographer who falls in love with a man named Barry Kolker (Billy Connolly). However he is not loyal to her and has sex with other women. Ingrid kills him. She goes to jail and is later found guilty for killing him and goes to prison for a long time. Her daughter, Astrid Magnussen (Lohman), is taken to a series of foster homes.
Her first foster home is with a woman named Starr Thomas (Penn), who has two children, a teenager named Carolee and a young boy named David. During this home, she falls in love with Starr's husband. During a fight, Carolee runs away from home. An angry Starr shoots Astrid in the arm after an argument with her husband.
For a brief time, she is put in a place called "Mac," which houses hundreds of children. During this time, she gets into a fight with a bunch of other girls. She cuts her hair off and threatens the other girls, saying that she will slit their throats in their sleep if they attack her again.
Her second foster home is with a woman named Claire Richards (Zellweger). She is very lonely since her husband Mark (Noah Wyle) is often away on business trips. Astrid likes her a lot and how she always is nice and happy towards her. When Claire and Astrid visit Ingrid, however, Ingrid tells Claire that Mark is cheating on her. Astrid warns her mother not to destroy this home, but Ingrid smiles and says that she would rather have her at the worst foster home ever over Claire. Afterwards, Claire fights with Mark and later kills herself by swallowing a lot of pills at once.
Astrid is put in another home. She is very upset and thinks that her mom caused Claire to kill herself. She chooses a home with a Russian mother named Rena, knowing that Rena will not love her like Claire did because she does not want to see this happen again. This new mother has her sell her nice clothes. Astrid dyes her own hair and starts wearing black clothing. When Ingrid meets Astrid again, she is shocked at how Astrid has turned herself.
During this time, there is a movement to free Ingrid. They believe the original decision of "guilty" of killing Barry was wrong and want a new trial. If Astrid lies and agrees to Ingrid's version of the story, Ingrid will be likely be freed. But if she tells the truth, Ingrid will be put in jail again. Astrid uses this new power to force Ingrid to tell her about her father. Ingrid is then put on trial, but Ingrid tells her lawyer not to call Astrid to the stand. Ingrid is found guilty again and is put in jail.
The movie ends with Astrid, living with her new boyfriend Paul Trout (Patrick Fugit) in New York, putting together a series of suitcases that stand for all of her experiences through foster homes. She has redyed her hair blonde.