Single White Female
|Single White Female|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Barbet Schroeder|
|Produced by||Barbet Schroeder|
|Screenplay by||Don Roos|
by John Lutz
Jennifer Jason Leigh
|Music by||Howard Shore|
|Editing by||Lee Percy|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||107 minutes|
Allison "Allie" Jones (Fonda) is a software designer in New York City, engaged to Sam Rawson (Steven Weber). In the middle of the night, Sam's ex-wife calls, and it is revealed that he slept with her recently; Allie breaks off the engagement and asks him to leave. The next morning she attends a business lunch with Mitchell Myerson (Stephen Tobolowsky), a fashion house owner who is looking to buy Allie's revolutionary new program. He manipulates her into significantly lowering the cost, on the basis that his recommendations within the industry will be her future business. As he is her first and only client, she accepts.
Allie advertises for a new roommate. She eventually settles on Hedra Carlson (Leigh), whom she decided to nickname "Hedy", and they become friends. Hedy tells of how she was supposed to be a twin but her twin was stillborn, leaving her with a constant feeling of loneliness. After a few weeks, however, Hedy reveals her true nature: secretive, manipulative and deeply disturbed. She erases Sam's phone messages when he calls to plead with Allie for a reconciliation, and takes a letter he sends for her. She secretly buys a puppy and pretends it was a stray in order to bond with Allie. Her behavior worsens when Sam returns in person and is able to win Allie back.
Fearing she will be kicked out of the apartment in favor of Sam, Hedy does everything possible to make Sam look bad, even killing the puppy and making it look like it was his fault. Hedy then copies Allie's appearance, right down to her hairstyle.
Myerson attempts to rape Allie on completion of their deal, insinuating that if she does not submit to him, he will warn off future clients and not pay her. She fights back and escapes.
Allie finds a box in Hedy's room containing Sam's letter, Hedy's real name (Ellen Besch), and newspaper clippings revealing her twin sister actually drowned when they were nine. She follows an unaware Hedy that night to an underground sex club, and witnesses her passing herself off as Allie. Utterly disturbed, she seeks out her friend Graham, who insists she get Hedy to move out. Hedy overhears their conversation and later attacks Graham.
Hedy, posing as Allie, sneaks into Sam's hotel room and performs oral sex on him. Afterwards Hedy attempts to blackmail Sam but he insists on telling Allie the truth. Hedy kills him by gouging his eye with her stiletto heel. As she leaves his apartment complex, the doorman mistakes her for Allie. The next day Hedy tells Allie she is about to leave. Later Allie sees a news report on Sam's death, realizes what has happened and tries to leave. Hedy takes Allie hostage at gunpoint. She states she intends to frame Allie for Sam's murder since any witnesses will assume they are the same person, forcing Allie to run away with her in order to evade arrest.
As Myerson did not make the full payment to Allie, her anti-theft software activates and erases his files. He comes to the apartment building looking for Allie and, finding her tied up, attempts to free her. Before he can set her free, however, Hedy sneaks up on him and kills him. A violent fight ensues, during which Graham regains consciousness and is able to briefly assist Allie. The struggle ends with Allie stabbing Hedy to death.
In an epilogue, Allie narrates that she has finally moved on. She forgives Hedy for killing Sam, and herself for killing Hedy, as she believes Hedy's downfall was an example of how survivor's guilt can destroy someone. The film ends with a closeup of a photograph presumably made by Hedy of their faces superimposed into one; it lies partly hidden from view amongst Allie's possessions.
- Bridget Fonda as Allison "Allie" Jones
- Jennifer Jason Leigh as Hedra "Hedy" Carlson/Ellen Besch
- Steven Weber as Sam Rawson
- Peter Friedman as Graham Knox
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Mitch Myerson
- Frances Bay as Elderly Neighbor
- Jessica Lundy as Talkative applicant
Jennifer Jason Leigh won an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain, and was also nominated for a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress.
In popular culture 
- The character of Hedy has been cited as an example of borderline personality disorder. She suffers from a markedly disturbed sense of identity, and tries to remedy it by adopting wholesale the attributes of her roommate. It is implied that she feels a deep-seated emptiness, while her fear of abandonment leads to drastic measures.
- The 2010 Bollywood film Apartment, directed by Jagmohan Mundhra, is inspired by this film.
- The 2011 film The Roommate was criticized for being a "cheap remake" of Single White Female.
- An episode called "Juliet Wears the Pantsuit" in the eighth season of the TV show Psych references this film.
See also 
- "Weekend Box Office Eastwood Still Tall in the Saddle". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- "Weekend Box Office `Unforgiven' at Top for Third Week". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- "Single White Female". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- "Single White Female". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- Robinson DJ. Reel Psychiatry:Movie Portrayals of Psychiatric Conditions. Port Huron, Michigan: Rapid Psychler Press. p. 235. ISBN 1-894328-07-8.
- Travers Peter (February 4, 2011). "The Roommate". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- Franich, Darren., Staskiewicz, Keith (February 4, 2011). "'Single White Female': The 'Roommate' inspiration signs a lease with PopWatch Rewind". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
- Single White Female at the Internet Movie Database
- Single White Female at Rotten Tomatoes
- Single White Female at Box Office Mojo
- Movie stills