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White Oleander | 2002 | PG-13 | - 4.4.5

Somber drama chronicling the life of Astrid (Alison Lohman), a young teenager who's struggling to come to terms with living without a stable, loving family. Astrid is forced through a series of foster homes after her mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) goes to prison for committing a crime of passion. Also with Patrick Fugit, Noah Wyle and Robin Wright. [1:49]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - We hear a woman moaning and banging on a wall suggesting that she and a man are having sex. A man in a robe opens a door and a woman goes into the house: it is implied that the man and woman have sex but nothing is shown. We see a couple making out in the background in a party scene. A man and woman kiss and hug, and a teenage boy and girl kiss and hug a few times. An older man touches a teenage girl's face tenderly (it is suggested that they had sex, but we see nothing else). A woman and two teenage girls are shown in a dressing room in their underwear (the woman wears a thong) exposing cleavage, bare abdomens and buttocks. A woman wears skin-tight outfits that reveal cleavage, her bare back and shoulders in many scenes. A woman wears a leather halter-top (revealing cleavage and bare abdomen) and a mini-skirt (revealing thighs). A woman wears a slinky negligee, a woman wears an oversized shirt that is unbuttoned to show cleavage and her bare abdomen, and a teenage girl wears tank tops that reveal cleavage. A man is shown bare-chested. There is some sexual innuendo: A woman talks about having been an exotic dancer, a woman accuses a teenage girl of trying to take away the man in her life, a teenage daughter asks her mother if a man spent the night, and a woman says a man is "getting what he wants from somebody else." A woman tells her daughter that she and a man had sex, a woman says that her daughter is "hormonal," a woman says she's busy "fighting off sexual advances" in prison, and a woman tells her teenage daughter that the relationship she had with her father was a "sexual" one.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A woman threatens a teenage girl with a gun, then shoots her in the shoulder; we see blood on her shirtsleeve and see a scar in later scenes. A man pounds on a window breaking it (while yelling that he is going to kill the woman inside) and a woman opens a switchblade knife and cuts his hand (we see this scene a few times and we see some blood on the man's hand). A teenage girl puts a knife to the throat of another girl and threatens her. Two teenage girls fight with shoving, yelling and name-calling (one ends up with a bruised eye and a split lip). A teenage girl finds a woman dead from an overdose, she tries to revive her and screams and yells in anger. A woman tells her teenage daughter that she "wanted to throw her against a wall." Loud pounding awakens a girl who sees her mother struggling against police who take her away. A woman yells at her daughter abusively, tries to hit her and the daughter threatens her mother. Men and woman argue bitterly in many scenes. A woman has a bruised eye and cheek apparently from a beating in prison. A movie on TV shows a woman being killed by a man with a chainsaw (it cuts away just before we see anything). A teenage boy talks about having been born addicted to heroin. A teenage girl cuts her hair with a knife. A woman says, "tell him I was killed..." We see fires burning in the mountains near homes.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 1 F-word, 5 sexual references (1 in Spanish, not translated), 3 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, 3 religious profanities, 6 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - People are shown smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, and it is suggested that one character has a drinking problem and has had a drug problem.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Premeditated murder, beauty, rejection, infidelity, paranoia, loneliness, sacrifice, dysfunctional relationships, redemption, teenage pregnancy, cynicism, Children's Services and foster care, hypocrisy, jealousy.

MESSAGE - It's better to know what is true than to believe in what feels good. Don't forget who you are.

(Note: A character yells at her daughter for accepting Christianity and her daughter tells her that "thinking for yourself is evil." A foster child is shown pregnant and we hear that she has had two other babies.)

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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