White Oleander

Synopsis: Astrid Magnussen is a 15 year old girl, living in California. Her mother, Ingrid, is a beautiful, free-spirited poet. Their life, though unusual, is satisfying until one day, a man named Barry Kolker (that her mother refers to at first as "The goat man") comes into their lives, and Ingrid falls madly in love with him, only to have her heart broken, and her life ruined. For revenge, Ingrid murders Barry with the deadly poison of her favourite flower: The White Oleander. She is sent to prison for life, and Astrid has to go through foster home after foster home. Throughout nearly a decade she experiences forbidden love, religion, near-death experiences, drugs, starvation, and how it feels to be loved. But throughout these years, she keeps in touch with her mother via letters to prison. And while Ingrid's gift is to give Astrid the power to survive, Astrid's gift is to teach her Mother about love.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Peter Kosminsky
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  3 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
109 min

Everybody asks why I started at the end

and worked back to the beginning.

The reason is simple.

I couldn't understand the beginning

until I had reached the end.

There were too many pieces

of the puzzle missing.

Too much she would never tell.

I could sell these things.

People want to buy them.

But I'd set all this on fire first.

She'd like that.

That's what she would do.

She'd make it just to burn it.

I couldn't afford this one, but the

beginning deserved something special.

But how do I show that nothing,

not a taste...

... not a smell, not even

the color of the sky...

... has ever been as clear and sharp

as it was when I belonged to her.

I don't know how to express that being

with someone so dangerous...

... was the last time that I felt safe.

The Santa Anas blew in hot

from the desert that fall.

Only the oleanders thrived.

Maybe the wind was the reason

my mother did what she did.

If it was, I wouldn't have known.

I lived in her shadow then.

She was the most beautiful woman

I'd ever seen.

Everybody thinks that

when they're small...

... but she was the most beautiful woman

most people had ever seen.

He came into our lives without warning.

She ignored him at first.

He wasn't her type.

We laughed about him, his persistence.

"Never let a man spend the night,"

she said. Never apologize, never explain.

She was breaking all her rules.

And it would change everything.

What are you doing up here?

Come sit next to me.

It's the best place to feel the wind.

I can feel it from here.

No, you can't.

It's okay.

You should get some sleep.

I never sleep.

I've been up here for hours.

I had the most amazing idea for how to

use my Polaroids in the Newport show.

I'm gonna skip work today.

Keep going until I finish.

You're still coming to parents' night,

aren't you?

Oh, God, I forgot.

I made plans to go to Greta's opening.

All the other parents go.

What can they tell me about you

that I don't already know?

Time's up! Pencils down.

Papers, please. Thank you.

Thank you. Time, Astrid.

Thank you.

Is your mother coming tonight?

No. She has other plans.

More important than parents' night?

She's an artist. She doesn't care

about things like parents' night.

Right. And don't forget, you guys,

chapters 17 and 18 for tomorrow.

Finished my mug shots.

What do you think?

They're great.

No. You're not looking.

You can't be an artist if you don't see.

Why do you think they're great?

I don't know.

They're lonely.

It's me in the center.

It's our secret.

You can't tell anybody.

I won't. I never tell our secrets.

It's the deer-in-the-headlights look.


- How long has this been going on?

- Couple months.

- His wife's gonna figure it out.

- She's an idiot.

Cinema Scene.

It's Barry Kolker again.

Tell him I was killed

in a climbing accident in the Himalayas.

Barry, she's still out of town.

We don't have any eggs.

We never have any eggs.

Barry can take us out to breakfast.

Barry spent the night?


Excuse me.

I bet he's still out of town.

I called the magazine.

He got back three days ago.

He's probably working.

He doesn't call then.

He doesn't call when he's getting

what he wants from somebody else.

I don't think you should do this.

He'll get mad.

- I'll just say we were in the neighborhood.

- He won't believe us.

You're not my type.

You're not my type.

What happened?

He has a date.

He made love to me

and then said I had to leave...

...because he has a date.

- No! Get away from me.

- Get her out!

- You have no right!

- You're under arrest...

...for the murder of Barry Kolker.

- They can't keep me!

I'll be back in an hour!

You must be Astrid? I'm Miss Martinez

from Children's Services to pick you up.

If you need more time, I can

give you 15 minutes, but that's it.

I'm not going. I'm waiting

for my mother to come home.

Your mother won't be coming home.

At least not for a while.

- Any legal cause why sentence of

judgment should not now be imposed?

Therefore, in accordance

with the laws of California...

...I sentence you to the term

prescribed by law for murder.

Not less than 35 years to life

in a maximum-security prison.

- Hey!

- Hello, Starr. How are you?

Well, I'm fine! How are you?

- Good to see you.

- You too.

Y'all must be starving.

I hope you like olive loaf.

- I made enough to feed an army.

- Astrid?

- How was traffic?

- Bad downtown...

...but it cleared up pretty fast.

- Oh, good.

There you go. Astrid Magnussen,

this is Starr Thomas.

It is so nice to meet you, Astrid.

Come on in! Here, let me help you

with that. Was it a long drive?

- Yeah.

- Yeah?

I hope you didn't bring a ton of stuff.

You'll share a room with my daughter.

This is our home.

This is where we have company.

Then in here is the kitchen

and whatnot.

The boys sleep here.

We don't have enough bedrooms.

That's Davey in the glasses, and Owen.

This is Astrid.

Boys, you say hi?

Carolee? I said, get out here right now.

Let's just go in there.

This is Carolee, my daughter.

Make some room, okay?

This is where you'll sleep.

She'll clean up. Don't worry.

Just don't mind her. She's hormonal.

The problem is she hasn't been saved.

What about you?


Have you accepted Jesus Christ

as your personal savior?

I don't know.

When you do, he'll be waiting. Okay?

This is where Ray and I sleep,

and the bathroom's here.

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

Mary Agnes Donoghue

Mary Agnes Donoghue (born 1942/1943) is an American screenwriter and director. Following early jobs as a secretary and short story writer, Donoghue's first writing credit was the 1984 film The Buddy System. She went on to pen the screenplays for Beaches (1988) and Paradise (1991), which was also her directorial debut. Donoghue co-wrote and co-produced Deceived (1991) and two year later, her first play, Me and Mamie O'Rourke, made its debut at the Strand Theatre in London. In the 2000s, Donoghue wrote the screenplay for White Oleander (2002) and co-wrote Veronica Guerin (2003) with Carol Doyle. In 2013, Donoghue wrote and directed Jenny's Wedding. more…

All Mary Agnes Donoghue scripts | Mary Agnes Donoghue Scripts

0 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "White Oleander" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 Jun 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/white_oleander_23399>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    White Oleander

    Browse Scripts.com

    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.