White Oleander

Rated 3.0 Artistic mother (Michele Pfeiffer) is convicted of murdering her boyfriend and spends her prison visiting hours attempting to control and manipulate the life of her just-as-talented artist daughter (Alison Lohman). The film works best when exploring the Los Angeles foster home life of the teen girl, which includes rather suspect parenting by a reborn former alcoholic stripper (Robin Wright Penn) and warm nurturing from the psychologically delicate wife (Renée Zellweger) of a filmmaker (Noah Wyle). The girl’s friendship with a fellow child of the state (Almost Famous’ Patrick Fugit) also provides some character insight as the melodrama at hand threatens to coagulate rather than just thicken. The performances in this chilly story about parental control have a credible resonance that is missing in some of the dialogue. Directed by British TV helmer Peter Kosminsky and adapted from Janet Fitch’s novel by Mary Agnes Donoghue (Beaches).