I saw this at the theater back in 2002. I loved it. I thought it managed to capture the rather lyrical aspect of the book. The movie has a largely a female cast and they were great. Astrid went into such a great transformation and Alison Lohman was soo believable as a 12 year old girl in the beginning. Renée Zellweger was perfect as the extremely fragile Claire, one of Astrid's various foster mothers. But I think it was Michelle Pfeiffer that really stood out as Ingrid, Astrid's mother, who is ruthlessly selfish in her quest for vengeance, and truly conniving in her efforts to control her Astrid even from behind bars. She really was the type of mother would never want to have. Perhaps because of its mainly female cast, this movie may seem like a chick flick. It is not. It is not a romantic comedy. We don't often get coming of age tales of female characters, and this is one of the rare ones and it is quite a heartbreaking movie.