Newest Review: ... White Female is one of these psychological thriller movies of the type where somebody who at first ... more
Sometimes it's better to live alone!
Single White Female (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
Single White Female (DVD)
Date: 24/08/11, updated on 24/08/11 (91 review reads)
Advantages: Quite well acted, moderately reasonable story, fairly watchable
Disadvantages: Contrived, lots of scenes filmed in darkness, ridiculous in parts, boring in other parts
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 ~~
Summary: One of those take it or leave it types of film