White Oleander

Cast
Astrid Magnussen: Alison Lohman
Starr: Robin Wright Penn
Ingrid Magnussen: Michelle Pfeiffer
Claire Richards: Renee Zellweger
Rena Grushenka: Svetlana Efremova
Warner Bros. Pictures presents a film directed by Peter Kosminsky. Written by Mary Agnes Donoghue. Based on the novel by Janet Fitch. Running time: 110 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for mature thematic elements concerning dysfunctional relationships, drug content, language, sexuality and violence). Opening today at local theaters.

Central Theme
Tough times last, but with persistence and a little bit of love a tender person can survive; knowing what love is, that is the trick.

Story
Astrid’s life with her self-absorbed, struggling-artist mom, Ingrid, is already lonely and tumultuous. But when Ingrid murders her unfaithful boyfriend, Astrid enters the Foster care system and is shuffled multiple times from one bad situation to another.

Starr is a former stripper and now born-again Christian who is ¢â‚¬Ëœliving-in-sin” with Ray while raising three kids, the oldest a teenage daughter who has given up on her on-and-off alcoholic mother. Astrid’s attraction to Ray and Starr’s jealousy lead to a drunken shooting and Astrid is shipped off to a group-home situation where she is beaten by the tough girls and sheltered by a sensitive and artistic and young man.

When Claire Richards, aspiring but failing actress, and her director husband seek someone to adopt, Astrid enters round two of foster care. Clair is tender but unstable and as it turns out, suicidal.

Foster care number three is with Rena the Russian entrepreneurial immigrant for whom the foster arrangement is a business deal with a profit upside.

As Astrid is tossed from bad situation to worse, Ingrid manipulates her life from prison, constantly assuring that their bond, albeit a twisted one, is secure.

The story is deeply sad and though this telling is soap-operish the fact remains, there are thousands of kids being shuffled through an uncaring system due to screwed up parents and adults.

Beliefs num
–Life is tough.
–Just when you think it is as bad as it can get, it will get worse.
–Self-centered adults should not bear children.
–Most adults are self-centered.
–Watching out for yourself is the only way to survive.
–Being born-again doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
–If there is a God He ain’t worth praying to.
–A tender person can survive tough times.
–You’ll only make sense of any of it when you look back on it later in life.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Are kids better off staying with a biological parent even if that parent is really messed up?
–What is your impression of the foster care system in America, is it a deeply flawed one?
–Where is God when the adults in his or her life are traumatizing a kid?
–If the essence of Christian faith is love, why aren’t more followers of Jesus volunteering in the foster care program?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Everybody asked why I started at the end and worked back to the beginning. I couldn’t understand the end until I confronted the beginning.
==Astrid.
–My mother was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. She was also the most dangerous. How do I express that being with someone so dangerous was the last time that I felt safe.
==Astrid.
–Never let a man spend the night. Never explain. Never apologize. She was breaking all her rules and it would change everything.
==Astrid.
–I made other plans. Anyway what can they tell me that I don’t already know?
==Ingrid on why she’ll skip parent night at school.
–They’re all lonely? It’s me in the middle?
==Astrid telling mom what is so great about her collage.
–He doesn’t call when he’s getting what he wants from somebody else.
==Ingrid on what Barry hasn’t called.
–He made love to me than told me I had to leave because he had a date.
==Ingrid about Barry’s rejection which leads to his death.
Love humiliates you, hatred cradles you.
==Ingrid to Astrid.
–Your mother won’t be coming home, at least not for a while.
==Child Protective services trying to get Astrid to leave her home and come with them.
–I was an alcoholic, a cokehead and dancing topless–and then I was saved by Jesus.
==Starr.
–Don’t worry, she’s hormonal. Her problem is she hasn’t been saved. How about you. Have you received Jesus as your personal savior?
==Starr about her daughter’s hatred towards her.
–That slut thinks she can tell me what to do. Saved by Jesus. They shouldn’t be doing it. They’re not even married. Don’t look at me like that. You’re no different than I am you just don’t know it.
==Starr’s daughter to Astrid.
–In my opinion if there is a God He ain’t worth praying to.
==Ray to Astrid.
–Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing to believe in something.
==Astrid.
–She didn’t kill that guy alone. I knew what she was doing. I could have saved his life but I didn’t.
==Astrid.
–Don’t cry. We’re not like that. We’re the Vikings remember?
==Ingrid to Astrid.
–Prison agrees with me. There’s no hypocrisy here. It’s kill or be killed.
==Ingrid to Astrid.
–I know what it is. Why are you wearing it? I raised you not a bunch of Bible thumping trailer trash. I taught you to think for yourself.
==Ingrid to Astrid.
–No you didn’t. You taught me to think like you.
==Astrid.
–Evil is tricky. Just when you think you understand it, it changes its face. It takes a lifetime of study. Those people are the enemy. Don’t forget who you are. You’re my daughter and we’re perfect remember?
==Ingrid to Astrid.
–I guess its hard getting older with a pretty girl coming up in the house. This isn’t right.
==Ray to Astrid.
–The next time you and your friends jump me, I’ll cut your throat while you’re sleeping.
==Astrid to girls at group home.
–Our beauty is our power, our strength. Life’s easier without friends.
==Ingrid to Astrid.
–I like it better than foster care. It’s the floor you can’t fall below.
==Astrid’s boyfriend at group home.
–I think about mine sometimes, that when I’m an artist he’ll read about me in the paper and will want to meet me.
==Astrid to boyfriend about her father.
–Don’t do it again. Don’t attach yourself to anyone just because you are lonely.
==Ingrid to Astrid.
–I’d like to meet her, because you don’t want me to.
==Ingrid to Astrid about Claire.
–Her letter was so powerful, so strong. I’d like to meet her.
==Claire after receiving Astrid’s letter.
–You dress like her now. How can you stand to live with poor Claire? I would rather see you in the worst kind of foster home than to live with that woman.
==Ingrid about Claire.
–Oh but it’s so fun, easy but fun. In my situation you’ve got to get fun wherever you can¢â‚¬¦ All I can say is keep your bags packed.
==Astrid after being cruel to Claire.
–Take my advice. Stay away from broken people. He’s not coming back. He’s going to divorce me.
==Claire after Gary decides ¢â‚¬Ëœit’s not working out’ with Astrid in the home.
–You poisoned her except this time you used words.
==Astrid to Ingrid after the Claire’s suicide.
–Why do you think they got you? You were on suicide watch. It’s not the first time she tried. This time she pulled it off.
==Ingrid back to Astrid.
–That’s why I like this country, It likes money like I like money.
==Rena.
–Why do you hate her? Is it because she committed murder or abandoned you?
==Ingrid’s attorney to Astrid.
–I have a deal. You tell me the truth and I lie for you in court.
==Astrid to Ingrid.
–Self-defense, he was killing me (Why did you murder him?). You just wanted and wanted and wanted. I just dropped you off to go to the beach with some friend. One ting led to another. I stayed away for a year. (Did you abandon me when I was a child?)
==Ingrid answers Astrid’s questions.
–Don’t ask me why I left. Ask why I came back. For once I did the right thing.
==Ingrid to Astrid.
–You don’t just walk away from me. I made you. I’m in your blood. You can’t go anywhere until I let you go.
==Ingrid to Astrid.
–Then let me go. You don’t like what you see? This is the price you pay.
==Astrid to Ingrid.
–She let me go,
==Astrid after Ingrid’s attorney explains that she won’t be testifying.
–No matter how much she damaged me. No matter how flawed she is. I know my mother loves me.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in October 11, 2002 by | No Comments »

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