Monday, October 10, 2011

my review of Single White Female

I watched this on a whim because I had heard of it a few times and I had nothing else to really do.

Acting/characters: Far and away the best performance in this film is Jennifer Jason Leigh as the new roommate that Bridget Fonda gets. She does a spectacular job treading the line between a helpless, needy, fragile person and a downright psychopath. As the movie progresses Leigh's desperate insanity gets more and more over-the-top but still believable. It can be tiresome but it is generally excellent. One thing that I had a problem with, is that the filmmakers wanted us to feel very sorry for Leigh and for the most part we did. But there are one or two things that she does that go a bit far. The puppy. That thing. It was gonna happen but still, as an audience member you lose a lot of ability to feel sorry for a character that does something like that. Fonda does a good job too as the character that the audience would have to relate to (God help the people who relate to Leigh more) but she is definitely overshadowed by Leigh. Also, I know a lot of people discuss how Fonda's character is kind of a jerk. Looking at their complaints I can see why. she pretty much uses Leigh for a bit of emotional support but then when she doesn't need her any more she just discards her in favor of her cheating boyfriend. There are a few other characters in the film who do an alright job, but they are less important as the film is pretty much dominated by the interactions of the two female leads and I think that it works very well here. The performances weren't perfect but they were very good. 9/10

Plot: It is one of the original 'insane roommate' movies. It is the movie that The Roommate is based off of. Now I haven't seen any other movies like this so I can't really compare, but I think that this one was really good. My biggest problem with the plot was that by the end, I had lost a little interest because I was starting to feel the running time. The film clocks in at just under 2 hours but I feel that they could have shortened it and still have made it just as good. Aside from the fact that it felt a bit long, it was a really well done story that was fascinating at the same time that it was absolutely heartbreaking and still at the same time it was horrifying. It could be very lighthearted at moments and you wanted everything to work out in the end with everybody. But it didn't. It took some very dark turns. In a good way though. The dark turns didn't turn me off to the film but they made where everything was going next more interesting. 8/10

Screenplay: I think it was alright. Seeing as how the film wasn't incredibly violent and most scenes were between the two leads (and also pretty much confined to one space most of the time) the relationship of the characters relied very much on the dialogue. Behind almost every great screen relationship there is good dialogue to go with it and I think that the film succeeded with that for the most part. it wasn't perfect but it was pretty good overall and I liked the scenes where the two leads are talking and Leigh's dark side starts to slip out while still managing to make her desperate. it was alright. 7.5/10

Likableness: Despite some flaws here and there and the fact that it can feel too long, I enjoyed it for the most part. it was a pretty decent film. The performances of the two leads, particularly Leigh, are really good and it was great to see where the film goes as Leigh gets more and more desperately insane. I would suggest it to anyone who likes a good suspense/identity crisis film. It isn't a perfect movie but I think it is a very entertaining one capped off by a couple of really good performances. I wouldn't mind watching it again. In fact, looking at the rating, I'd say it's underrated a little. But I thought it was pretty good. 8/10

Final Score: 32.5/40 81% (N)
Tomatometer rating: 55%
Tomatometer rating if my review was added: 56%

TRIVIA TIME: 1. Like most old apartment buildings the building in this movie does not contain a floor 13. You can see the floor numbers on the elevator in a couple shots.

2. The Ansonia on the Upper West Side of Manhattan was used for the apartment building. The interiors were shot on a sound stage but the scenes in the stairwells were shot at The Ansonia.

3. Bridget Fonda had the choice of playing either the Allie role or the Hedy role. She ended up choosing to play Allie, because she said it was a harder role.

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