A study of a young girl coming to terms with womanhood whilst coping with a problematic mother. A brilliant director in Peter Kosminsky, a great cast and an excellent central performance from Alison Lohman help turn what could have been a fatal TV Movie subject into an emotional journey of depth.
When her volatile mother Ingrid (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) kills her boyfriend and is imprisoned teenager Astrid (Alison Lohman) is shunted from foster home to foster home. Over the course of three years Astrid learns about life and tries to become her own person whilst even behind bars her mother tries to exert an influence on her.
Interestingly the film is shot solely from Astrid’s point of view, the camera never getting ahead of her and by making ample use of flashbacks and time jumps Kosminsky adds a multi layered dimension to the story, certainly one of the most talented directors working anywhere today (he was the man responsible for the awesome Warriors two part TV Drama) and with a cast including Renee Zellweger and Robin Wright Penn as foster parents and a small role for Billy Connolly you know White Oleander (a very poisonous plant by the way) is never going to less than extremely watchable.
EXTRAS Great commentary from director Kosminsky, novelist Janet Finch (on whose book the movie is based) and producer John Wells; interviews with all the principles and various behind the scenes bits and pieces.