Monday, May 30, 2011

Single White Female (1992)

Single White Female...the good timesBased on the novel “swf seeks same” by John Lutz, this movie is a frightening over-the-top tale about a girl obsession turned fatal.

The movie rolls with a couple planning their future together. Quickly, Allie (Bridget Fonda) and Sam’s (Steven Weber, remember him from Wings?) bliss is shattered over a situation involving his ex and Allie sets out to find a roommate.

Enter Hedy (Jennifer Jason Leigh, who excels at creepy) and her subdued manipulations to win the room. The ladies forge a friendship and Hedy is a quick study in gaining Allie’s trust. Hedy blocks Sam’s attempts to get Allie back. When Sam gets to her, Hedy’s mental illness goes into overdrive pushing her to eliminate anyone who gets in her way. Hedy’s behavior is overdone and implausible, as is the eventual explanation for her behavior (but Leigh is compelling).

SWF is a disturbing study of a sociopath, leaving you uninterested in seeking a roommate situation. Similar to 1987’s Fatal Attraction, the psychic horror scores but SWF has a trace of propaganda that warns young single women to stay out of NYC or, at minimum, be vigilante for potential troubled roommates. SWF highlights Allie’s helplessness: despite being bright enough to have her own design biz, her first client assumes he will bed her (even after he’s already coerced her into taking his job for peanuts). In addition to his stereotypical repulsion factor, he gives her no hint he will pay her nor recommend her, as she hopes.

This is just one of many nuanced roles by the inimitable Jennifer Jason Leigh. What happened to Bridget Fonda? We didn’t hear from her again after she married Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo fame.

Director: Barbet Schroeder

Country: USA

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 107 minutes

Scale: 2.5

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