“ Genre: Crime & Thriller - Thriller / Theatrical Release: 1992 / Director: Barbet Schroeder / Actors: Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh ... / DVD released 12 October, 1998 at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen „
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RELEASED: 1992, Cert.18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 107 mins
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Barbet Schroeder
SCREENPLAY: Don Roos
MUSIC: Howard Shore
Bridget Fonda as Allie
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Hedy
Steven Weber as Sam
Peter Friedman as Graham
Stephen Tobolowsky as Mitch Myerson
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Based on John Lutz's novel entitled SWF Seeks Same, Single White Female begins in New York where successful computer software designer Allie shares an apartment with Sam, her boyfriend. Problems rise to the surface when it emerges that Sam has slept with his ex-wife. Angry and very hurt, Allie demands that Sam pack his bags and leave, which he reluctantly does after all his efforts to placate her fail.
Not wanting to live alone, Allie advertises in a newspaper for a flatmate. After interviewing several candidates and finding them unsatisfactory for various reasons, she settles for a rather dowdy, somewhat shy yet sweetly pleasant girl called Hedy. Hedy is over the moon at being accepted as Allie's new flatmate, and moves in.
Meanwhile, Allie is having business dealings with a not overly nice, yet financially viable client called Mitch Myerson, and back at the apartment, the phone keeps ringing....Sam is desperately trying to patch things up with Allie.
Before long and gradually, the initially perfect-seeming Hedy begins to display behavioural traits which suggest she perhaps isn't quite as squeaky-clean as she first appeared to be.
That sets the scene....to learn more, hunt out the film to watch for yourself.
Single White Female is one of these psychological thriller movies of the type where somebody who at first seems an extremely nice person, does an about-turn. There were quite a few of these films released around the same time, with mixed fortunes....some being better than others.
I remember first watching Single White Female shortly after its release, of course hoping it would be good and live up to the standard set by some other then current films from the same genre. I do recall that Single White Female received mixed reviews from the critics, the results appearing to be an "I loved it" or "I hated it" outcome.
I personally find the first part of the film quite interesting. The scene is set, although it is obvious very early on that Hedy has some issues, it thus being easily assumed that she isn't going to turn out to be the 'good guy'. I like the almost seamless transformation where the film gradually moves from an ordinary, everyday setting into a living nightmare as Allie starts to notice that not all is right regarding her new flatmate.
However, once the nasty bits get underway, I personally feel the film travels down some not unrealistic exactly, but possibly far-fetched paths from the point of view of coincidence, coupled with Allie's reactions towards various incidences stemming from Hedy's undesirable behaviour, being a combination of inappropriate and way over the top.
All of the acting in Single White Female is at least adequate, though by no means anywhere near Oscar recommendation standard. It is difficult for me to pick a favourite from the performances, simply because I didn't actually like any of the characters. I see Allie as somebody who is cool, maybe a little snobbish, self-interested and at times unnecessarily churlish. I find the character of Allie's boyfriend Sam to be not unpleasant, but quite shallow, insubstantial and soulless....a 'nice guy' (despite his one-off dalliance with his ex-wife which caused Allie to turf him out of the apartment they shared) whose general disposition emanates little or no depth. Mitch Myerson, Allie's new business associate, quite frankly is a leering, lecherous creep who is about as attractive as an attack of herpes, and the initially sweet, kind-natured Hedy quite frankly is a raving bonkers harridan with an extremely nasty, manipulative disposition. If pushed to choose one single favourite character, I'd veer towards Graham, who is Allie's upstairs neighbour. He is a genial, friendly guy who is fond of Allie together with being very helpful and supportive to her, but for me and similarly to Sam, his personality lacks substance. Purely from an acting point of view, I'd probably - and only marginally - choose Bridget Fonda's portrayal of Allie, as she did oscillate fairly well between displays of coolness, vulnerability and anger, depending on what was happening to her at any given moment.
For me, Single White female is just another run-of-the-mill type psychological thriller that is watchable, but contains nothing which can't be seen in any other film within the same genre. There is one part that did make me smile though, despite humour not being intended, and it's where somebody performs an impulse sexual act on somebody else....I found it a little amusing because of the way it was done, yet did afterwards wonder why there was no visual evidence of the act immediately after it had happened...sorry I can't explain any more, as it would give away too much. If you've seen Single White Female and remember this short scene, you'll know what I mean....if not, then you'll have to watch it yourself.
I do like my psychological thriller films to be tense, high on mystery, creepy around the edges and to contain a clever twist....I'm afraid Single White Female has none of these qualities. As for the 'jump' factor, it only happened to me once during the whole film, and that was at a point where somebody was unravelling a roll of duct tape - I jumped because it was a loud noise!
Single White Female in my opinion, certainly is by no means the best, or anywhere near the best, psychological thriller movie around as there are many others where the suspense levels are much more exciting....I suppose subtlety comes into play here which is what I find this film largely lacks. It's worth a watch, but definitely is not something that succeeds in leaving me moved and scrabbling for more.
At the time of writing, Single White Female can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.72 to £9.95
Used: from £1.59 to £6.04
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
You'll look at your new female friend differently after watching this!
Bridget Fonda is a successful business woman who finds out her beloved fiance has been cheating on her. She resolves never to see him again. However, she know she will feel lonely in her big, luxurious apartment without him there, and could do with some female company, so she places an advertisement in the local paper for a flatmate.
After numerous unsuccessful applicants she comes across Jennifer Jason Leigh who, although slightly nervous and neurotic, comes across as a very sweet-natured and helpful young lady, and sympathetic to her relationship troubles; therefore, she is given the room.
However, after a barrage of answerphone messages, romantic gestures and promises from her ex, Bridget takes him back. Then the fun begins with Jennifer, involving a mimicry of hairstyles and outfits.
I thought Leigh's performance was outstanding in this. And I really did feel for Bridget's character, despite shouting at the T.V; "don't take that git back after what he's done!".
I most enjoyed the scenes with the neighbour upstairs, Graham. I loved that character. He had a real warmth to him.
In some ways the film is quite similar to Stephen King's "Misery". For those who haven't watched that movie, "Misery" is basically about a writer who is held hostage by a crazy woman who we at first think is a wonderful, Christian fan of his, who's come to the rescue.
Without wanting to give too much away, by the end of Single White Female I was standing up, biting my nails and tearing my hair out. Some of what happened was truly awful and I was on the verge of switching it off at one point because it just seemed too dark to bear, but then that old adage was brought to my mind - "what goes around, comes around" and our heroine toughened up to teach the lunatic a lesson!
Brilliant film. Also, I was surprised to see Howard Shore listed as the composer of the soundtrack - and a fabulous soundtrack it was.
When Allison discovers that her boyfriend, Sam, is still having sex with his ex wife, she throws him out and decides to get a room-mate to keep her company. Hedy initially seems like the perfect person to share with; she is quiet, unassuming and the two girls get on well. Then Allison and Sam make up and, deciding that they want to live together again, Allison wants Hedy to move out. Hedy, however, is not so willing. In fact, she is starting to exhibit some very strange behaviour, dressing like Allison, even having her hair cut and coloured to look like Allison. Hedy is so successful at this that even Sam is fooled. Will Allison be able to escape from Hedy's clutches before it is too late? And why is Hedy the way she is?
Made back in 1992, the role of Allison is played by a very young looking Bridget Fonda. Fonda gives a good performance here, although it is nothing out of the ordinary. Strangely, Fonda was apparently given the opportunity of taking this role or the role of Hedy, but chose this one because she thought it was the most difficult - I can't really understand why she would think so, because apart from the odd terrified and creeped out look, she doesn't really have to do a huge amount. One problem with Fonda's performance is that although she is the 'good guy', she isn't a particularly nice person - she certainly didn't persuade me to like her. However, the blame for that doesn't necessarily lie with Fonda.
Jennifer Jason Leigh (JJL for short) is scarily good as Hedy. She initially seems shy and sweet, much more pleasant than the rather brash and brazen Allison. Then she begins to show that she is not as sweet as we thought - and it is here that JJL excels, because it is her weird and wonderful mood swings that make her so scary. I don't particularly like the idea that someone who obviously has mental health problems is portrayed as evil, but actually, Hedy's problems are dealt with quite sympathetically - at least until she really does begin to crack.
Steven Weber (Brothers and Sisters), who plays Sam, and Stephen Tobolowsky (small roles in just about every US drama that exists), who plays Allison's friend both caught my eye, although more because I recognised them than because their acting was anything out of the ordinary. This film is definitely a two woman show.
I remember this film being talked about when it came out - at the time, it really was something a little bit out of the ordinary. Seeing it now in hindsight, it isn't really anything special - there have been any number of thrillers like this over the years. However, it is still a reasonable thriller. The atmosphere is well built up and I loved trying to guess exactly when Hedy was going to blow. There are some really big holes in the plot though and it really is necessary to suspend disbelief - at one point one of the characters is felled by Hedy wielding a stiletto shoe - for such a tiny little thing, she is apparently incredibly strong. Then there is Allison's apparent business as a software engineer - for such a young woman, she has done remarkably well for herself and has a massive flat to show for it.
There are some fairly nasty bits in the film that merit the 18 rating, although I have seen a lot worse. There is a lot of nudity and some sex scenes that might make a maiden aunt blush (although as a maiden aunt, I thought they were pretty dull - been there, done that!!). However, the scene that I found most upsetting was the death of a dog that Allison and Hedy were raising - I found this really uncomfortable to watch, even though I'm sure no animals were harmed in the making of the film.
The film does look very dated. Allison's hairstyle - very short and styled - was very trendy at the time, but now just looks weird. And her clothes - lots of fitted business suits, shoulder pads and androgynous outfits - remind me that I used to wear things like that - and it isn't a pleasant thought. 1992 doesn't seem all that long ago to me, but fashion-wise, it is light years away - thank God. Unfortunately, I do think it means that those who don't remember the period will be put off the film.
I did enjoy watching Single White Female again - it was a trip down memory lane even if the fashion made me cringe - and I am glad that I have it in my DVD collection. It isn't anything out of the ordinary, but it is still very watchable and great for a Friday night in with a bottle of wine. Recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99.
Runtime: 107 minutes
Beautiful Allison Jones is a successful fashion designer working in bustling Manhattan, along with her successful career, she lives in a very trendy apartment and has a handsome boyfriend Sam. But when she finds out that Sam has been cheating on her, she has no option but to start out on her own. Determined not to lose her trendy apartment, she advertises in the classifieds for a roommate to share paying the rent. After numerous failed interviews, she finally comes across Hedra Carlson, a quiet, sweet girl who, compared to all the other potential roommates, seemed quite normal.
At first everything seems to be running smoothly, with the self-centred Allison enjoying Hedra's company and her constant willingness to please. But things start to turn strange when Hedra begins copying Allison, her hair style, the clothes she wears and even the way she acts. When Allison decides to give her ex boyfriend, Sam, another chance and asks him to move in, she asks Hedra to look for new accommodation, unleashing a very weird and psychotic side to her roommate.
I remember when I first watched Single White Female I was impressed by the clever storyline, but then it lost its magic as every time I watched it I could easily remember what was going to happen. Having pretty much forgotten all about it and discarded it to the bottom of my film collection, I recently gave it another viewing and having pretty much forgotten all the twists and turns of the plot I thoroughly enjoyed it.
* The Story
Although the film is pretty predictable and you can guess that Hedra will turn out to be a psychotic maniac, the twists and turns which transport us from the start through to the somewhat predictable climax our indeed very clever. The film basically has three sections, with the initial section setting up the storyline. Although this section is relatively brief in comparison to the other sections, it builds up enough background so that the story seems plausible.
The second section of the film becomes more interesting as we watch the character of Hedra change as she begins to emulate that of her roommate Allison. This alone would feel quite strange, but the film does it in such a natural way, that to start with you just feel that it is Hedra just trying to imitate her roommate because she wants to be as successful and forthright as her. But as this section moves along we start to see the darker side of Hedra's character and begin to understand that her change in character maybe due to more sinister reasons than just adulation.
The final section which builds up to the somewhat predictable climax, involving Allison, Hedra and Sam has enough twists to keep you interested, with the real reasons behind Hedra's behaviour being revealed. Some of the twists are a bit far fetched but in general these make the final part of the film a decent thriller, even though it ends in what I would call a text book manner.
In general the storyline is pretty good, it has its flaws and at times is highly predictable but in general has enough twists to make it more than just an adequate thriller.
* Characters and Cast
In the role of Allison Jones is Bridget Fonda, who back in the early 90s seemed to be blossoming into quite a Holly wood star, sadly since then she seems to have nearly dropped off the radar. Fonda is absolutely perfect in the role of Allison, a sexy, confident, successful fashion designer who is in charge of her life, even when it takes a wrong turn. Even when the film twists and Allison finds herself becoming a victim of her own roommate's obsession, Fonda manages to portray the character with relative ease and realism. Opposite Fonda is Jennifer Jason Leigh who also seems to have dipped off the Hollywood radar since her success in the early 90s. For me Leigh's initial characterization of Hedra was brilliant, as she came over as timid and humble, always looking to please Allison, but her transformation into a psychotic maniac lacked something. Whether this was in her performance or was down to the actual writing of the character I cannot decide, but it started to become implausible in places.
Single White Female is directed by Barbet Schroeder who has made his name by directing thrillers such as "Desperate Measures" and "Murder by Numbers". Schroeder does a good job with Single White Female, he keeps the film moving at a decent pace, leaving you just enough time to ponder on what you have seen before shifting on, plus he manages the twists in the plot perfectly, leading you one way just to throw you back in the other direction without a moments notice. In all fairness, Schroeder has done a reasonable job of making what is basically a good thriller, but it is by no means up to the standards of say Hitchcock or M. Night Shyamalan.
Single White Female is one of those films that you watch once every few years, once you have forgotten the ins and outs of the story. The film itself is a very reasonable thriller which although may not keep you on the edge of your seat, has enough twists and history to keep you involved for the films full duration. Although now after nearly 15 years, Single White Female does look and feel a bit dated, but it is still a good way to spend nearly 2 hours.
Price & Availability
Duration: 107 mins
Year of Release: 1992
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director(s): Barbet Schroeder
Producer(s): Barbet Schroeder
Writer(s): Don Roos
Cast: Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Steven Weber, Peter Friedman, Stephen Tobolowsky, Frances Bay, Michele Farr, Tara Karsian, Christiana Capetillo, Jessica Lundy, Renée Estevez
© Christianfilm August 2006
This is a story about a girl (Bridget Fonda) who after a row with her boyfriend throws him out of her flat.
She then realises that she cannot afford the rent and advertises for a female flatmate.
After interviewing several unsuitable tennants along comes daggy looking and shy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who appears to fit the role admirably - but first impressions can be misleading.
When her ex boyfriend comes back into the picture,Jennifer becomes jealous and her personality takes on a new sinister role.She begins by making her appearance match that of Fonda and borrows her clothes so that she can impersonate her.
As the film builds so does the tension with a few murders along the way.
I will not go into any further detail as this would spoil your entertainment watching it only to say that this is a well acted and thoroughly entertaining taut thriller and highly recommended
Single White Female promises to be far more than it ultimately turns out to be even before the movie even opens in earnest. A look along the credits on the video sleeve shows Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh in the main roles and Barbet Schroeder in the director's chair, a combination which should have resulted in a superb thriller. Unfortunately, whilst on the surface this movie looks damn good, it simply fails to capture the imagination and is ultimately disappointingly lazy, recycling the generic psychopath scenario yet again before closing with a predictable ending. Bridget Fonda plays Alison Jones, a New York woman living on her own now that she has kicked out her boyfriend Sam(Steven Weber) for an act of infidelity. Feeling down, but in desperate need of a new room mate so that she can afford to stay in her New York appartment she begins interviewing prospective candidates, seemingly coming across the perfect answer in Hedra Carson(Jennifer Jason Leigh). The two get on perfectly, but when Sam re-enters her life the jealousy shown by Hedra to his presence can best be described as disturbing. She decides to check out her new roomate's background, finally checking out the references she gave and finds that she is not all that she seems. In fact, she is little more than a psychopath, who, having lost her twin sister at birth is looking for a replacement which she believes she has found in Alison. She starts wearing er clothes, styling her hair the same, even going after her boyfriend to be like her...but ultimately she is a typical movie psycho killing everything which stands in her way and covering her tracks so that no one suspects her - other than the main character of course... To say that this movie isn't very good would be too harsh, because it certainly isn't that bad. The criticism I would make is that it isn't as good as it ought to be considering the names involved in its production. Considering these factors
it is lazy, sloppy and generally a huge disappointment. It is distinctly average in this rather over-populated genre, which simply isn't good enough. Yes, its watchable, and if you are a fan of this kind of thing, then you'll enjoy it, but you'll have seen it all before - there is nothing new here. We are also asked to swallow a few rather gaping holes in the plot and believe that Allison is either extraordinarily tolerant or just plain stupid in her continued acceptance of Hedra's activities and the weight of the evidence against her. You might ask yourself who is the most unhinged at some points, my vote is with Alison for accepting thing with only a frown or a comment...nobody would behave like this surely? Well, however implausible this may be, and how out badly observed anything which takes place outside the appartment is, Single White Female still offers a fair number of suspenseful moments and shocks in it running length. All concerned act their parts well, and technically the shoot is pretty much faultless as you would expect from Schroeder...if a little glossy for my liking. Its not a bad movie, it just offers nothing new so if you can handle a painting by numbers thriller then check it out, its an average example of the genre...
OK, I haven't got the DVD, but I've seen the film on video, there's no other category, and no one has reviewed, so here's my opinion. Don't read this if you don't want the story ruined, I usually don't but I'm sick of not having much to say, so I'm gonna tell a bit about the movie that might spoil your viewing pleasure. This is a great, freaky, interesting psychological thriller. A woman in her 20's splits up with her boyfriend and advertises for a flat mate. She quickly finds one, and doesn't know what she's let herself in for. After a few days she notices weird behaviour and a weird attitude of the flat mate, but trusts her and they become good friends. Slowly her new flat mate (sorry, can't remember the names) becomes obsessed with her and changes her appearance so they almost look identical. Many freaky things happen, she kills their dog, murders her friend upstairs etc. leading to a final showdown. It's edge of your seat stuff, well directed with an eerie atmosphere. It turns out that the flat mate was a twin and the twin died when she was young, hence her trying to look identical and being obsessed. Not a movie that's gonna change your life, but really good entertainment.
You can take this 1992 thriller one of two ways: it's either a highly suspenseful movie about an unfortunate young woman's psychological breakdown, or it's a glossy slasher movie starring two of Hollywood's best young actresses. Or maybe it's both at the same time-or perhaps it's the clever and well-acted thriller for its first hour before resorting to the routine shocks of a cheap horror flick. However you look at it, there's no denying that this is a dynamite showcase for Jennifer Jason Leigh as the flatmate from hell who becomes the bane of Bridget Fonda's existence. First she picks up Fonda's mannerisms, then starts to borrow her wardrobe, cuts her hair to resemble Fonda's, and even "borrows" her roommate's boyfriend for a deceitful night of lovemaking. By that point Fonda's totally freaking out (wouldn't you?), and, well, that's when the whole thing gets a little too silly. Still, this is a nifty little shocker, and director Barbet Schroeder brings more intelligence and style to the material than it really deserves. Add that to the fine performances by the battling roommates and you've got a movie that will make you think twice before inviting total strangers to live with you. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com