Single White Female

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Single White Female Movie Poster Image
Intense, sexual, violent tale of worst roommate ever.
  • R
  • 1992
  • 107 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Don't take in new roommates without references.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Allie is a trusting innocent who can't see the threat in front of her face. Hedy is a deceptive, duplicitous agent with ulterior motives, an unstable mental condition, and evil intentions.


A psychopathic killer wreaks havoc. A male boss tries to force sex on a female employee, but she punches him in his genitals and escapes. A puppy either fell off or was pushed off a high balcony to its death. A man is shot. Two women punch and stab each other. One is strangled. A woman is bound and gagged and then kissed by another woman. A woman smashes a glass in another's face. A man is knocked out with a metal pipe. A woman draws blood as she puts a knife to another woman's neck. A man is killed by stiletto heel to his eye. A woman is shot in the arm. A woman is slashed with broken glass to her chest.


A woman is seen alone under the covers moaning. A woman sneaks into the hotel room of her roommate's boyfriend and, disguised as the roommate, gives him oral sex. A couple is seen nude in diffused light making love. Breasts and buttocks are seen. A man admits he slept with his ex-wife while engaged to someone else. A boss tries to force sex on his female employee. Adults at a sex club presumably watch an offscreen sex act. Hedy seems to want to seduce Allie as much as she wants to become her, nonchalantly undressing in front of her new roommate, as if to initiate a sexual relationship. 


"F--k," "s--t," "bitch," and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink at a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Single White Female is a high-end slasher movie for mature audiences, with frank depictions of sexuality and violence forecast from the earliest scenes. A seemingly nice character turns out to be a psychopath and although murders aren't graphically depicted, violence is unmistakably conveyed. A male boss tries to force sex on a female employee, but she punches him in his genitals and escapes. A puppy falls to its death. Characters are shot, strangled, stabbed, knifed, slashed. Characters visit a sex club. A woman has romantic longings for her heterosexual female friend. A nude man and woman make love. Breasts and buttocks are seen but no genitals. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch."  

User Reviews

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What's the story?

SINGLE WHITE FEMALE is the kind of person Allie (Bridget Fonda) advertises for when seeking a new roommate, having kicked out Sam (Steven Weber), her cheating fiancé, from her huge rent-controlled New York City apartment. From among numerous neurotic and weird applicants, she invites Hedy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to move in. Hedy seems nice at first, but it starts to look like she's trying to turn herself into a clone of the attractive Allie, maybe replace Allie in her own life. Or perhaps she's trying to turn Allie into Hedy's "lost" twin. Soon Hedy dresses like Allie, cuts and dyes her hair like Allie's, calls herself Allie, comes on to Allie's boyfriend, and even performs oral sex on the guy, disguised as Allie. It's a roommate-from-hell, horror film so no spoiler alert is necessary in describing the mayhem and murder inevitable from frame one. 

Is it any good?

Horror fans may tolerate this movie, with its generic pacing, music, lighting and other alarm bells signaling bad things to come, but the plot doesn't work even on the most basic level. The material here is suitable only for older teens and adults, but viewers of any age won't miss the clear sense that in the face of threat and danger, over and over, seemingly reasonable and intelligent characters refuse to act to defend themselves, to prevent looming disaster, or to expose a wrongdoer. If anyone did anything that sensible, it would bring the threat, and the movie, to an abrupt end. Under those circumstances, Single White Female's constant tension and frequent scares become annoying rather than dramatic. The action lumbers along until the final half hour, which is simply a chore to get through.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about mental illness. How does Single White Female portray this issue? Do you think it fairly depicted it or added to existing stigma attached to mental issues?

  • How does the movie's slick and realistic style affect the audience's perception of unrealistic behavior? Does that style work against the audience questioning the plausibility of unreasonable behaviors?  

  • Is this movie still relevant? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horror

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