Single White Female (1992)

After reading Cinematic Corner's Forgotten, underrated and unseen erotic thrillers from the 90s last Friday —yes, it's embarrassing that it took me so long to read it—, I noticed Netflix had just added one of the movies in that post, Single White Female, and decided to check it out. 

The story follows Allison "Allie" Jones (Bridget Fonda), a young New York businesswoman who is looking for a new roommate after breaking up with her boyfriend, Sam (Steven Weber). After meeting several candidates, she picks Hedra "Hedy" Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leight), a sweet and shy young woman who seems like the perfect roommate. And she is the perfect roommate, until Allie and Sam get back together.

The plot is very simple and rather predictable as you know what's going to happen in advance, there are too many conveniences to move the story forward, and there are probably too many subplots involved that take away the focus from the main storyline, and yet it’s compelling and gripping and kept me on the edge of my seat from its entire running time.

The most compelling aspect of Single White Female though is the two female characters, Allie and Hedy. While they could have used more depth and development as they are pretty shallow and clichéd, they are quite interesting as neither of them is a sympathetic character and yet you feel sympathy for both —Allie is sweet and innocent and yet she is horrible to Hedy and deserves what's coming to her; Hedy is quite the opposite as she turns out to be a psycho and yet you can't really blame her for what she does. Also, the (sexual) tension between them is wonderful. 

And the performances are just as compelling. Bridget Fonda doesn't have much to do, but she really does wonders with the little she's given and shines as the independent, confident and yet naive Allie. Jennifer Jason Leigh is terrific in the role of mousy, neurotic Hedy, her performance being genuinely scary and creepy. 

Columbia Pictures
The supporting characters, on the other hand, are nothing but stereotypes —the gay friend, the boyfriend who just can't keep it in his pants, the molesting boss—, but the actors still provide decent support, the standout being Peter Friedman as the gay friend who unfortunately isn't around much. 

Ultimately, while it's not a perfect movie, Single White Female is a pretty tense thriller with an over-the-top and yet effective climax and plenty of unrealistic situations, splatter and out-of-place moments —Allie watching Hedy masturbating doesn't feel quite right. It would make way more sense the other way around.


  1. I've always enjoyed this film. Mainly for Jennifer Jason Leigh who is just nuts but goddamn, she was fun to watch.

    1. She is wonderful in here. I'm still amazed by how she goes from sweet and all that to crazy psycho.