Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
There is a certain rising tide of madness in "Single White Female" that is one of the movie's pleasures - evidence that it was made by a man who directs films instead of simply manufacturing them.
This is a story which, in other hands, could have simply been an all-female slasher movie, but Barbet Schroeder, who produced and directed it, has a mordant humor that pushes the material over the top. It is a slasher movie, and a little more.
Hollywood likes movies with a "high concept," by which they mean, I think, a low concept - a plot idea that can be simply explained in one sentence that will sell. "Single White Female" has a terrific high concept: It's about a "roommate from hell." Allison, the heroine, played by Bridget Fonda, advertises for a roommate, and after carefully screening out several nut cases and victims of assorted obsessions, ends up with a candidate who looks ideal.
Her name is Hedra Carlson. She is played by Jennifer Jason Leigh as a sweet-faced, friendly little innocent. Those are the ones you have to look out for. I cannot find "hedra" in my unabridged dictionary, and yet somehow the name teases me. Surely it is the name of a mythological beast? One with a rent receipt in one hand and a kitchen knife in the other? The progression of the movie is more or less as we expect it, beginning with Allison and Hedra as close friends, and ending in bloodshed and death. What is intriguing is the way Schroeder progresses from beginning to end. There are many steps along the way, involving downstairs neighbors, boyfriends, and others who belong to Allison and soon seem to belong to Hedra, too, as do lots of Allison's clothes and eventually even her hairstyle and coloring.