White Oleander

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White Oleander ★★½ 2002 (PG)

fieffer plays against type as an ice cold mother who controls her daughter Astrid's (Lohman) life from the prison where she's serving a life sentence for murder. Astrid is forced into an odyssey through the foster care system, where she is taken in by a string of damaged foster moms, including a born-again ex-stripper (Wright Penn), a needy ex-actress (Zellweger) and a greedy Russian ragpicker (Efremova). Astrid changes her looks as well as her psyche for each of these faux-mothers, but finally learns to break away and become her own person with some help from fellow foster child Paul (Fugit). The performances are good across the board, but director Kosminsky seems more interested in making the all-star cast of actresses look good then giving them an interesting story to tell. 110m/C VHS, DVD . US Alison Lohman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robin Wright Penn, Renee Zellweger, Patrick Fugit, Billy Connolly, Cole Hauser, Noah Wyle, Amy Aquino, Svetlana Efremova; D: Peter Kosminsky; W: Mary Agnes Donoghue; C: Elliot Davis; M: Thomas Newman.