“Greta” stars Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, and Stephen Rea. Released on March 1, 2019, the film is about a young woman who befriends a lonely widow with a dark secret.
The film is directed by Neil Jordan, who also directed films such as “Angel”, “Interview with the Vampire”, “The Good Thief”, and “The Brave One”. Everyone needs a best friend, but what if this so-called “best friend” isn’t the best? This latest thriller seeks to answer that question while attempting to provide an entertaining fright-fest that’ll make people rethink about being friends with someone. I haven’t expressed that much interest for the film until I saw its trailer back in January. Despite the fact that these types of thrillers didn’t impress me that much, I’m always willing to give them a shot, and this is no exception. Besides, I haven’t seen Moretz in a film for who knows how long. With that said, let’s dive right in to the madness and see how this one turns out.
The story follows Frances McCullen (Moretz), a young waitress who’s living a quiet life in New York City. When she finds a handbag in the subway, she returns it to its owner, a French widow (Huppert) who lives in her home all by herself. Feeling sorry for her, Frances decides to keep her company, which sounds like a good deed right from the get-go. She later discovers that the widow is not who she seems to be, and that’s where the craziness starts. So, long story short, it’s about a psychotic and obsessive woman who stalks the main character. What could’ve been a well-portrayed study at how a person’s sense of loneliness can affect their actions towards people around them turned out to be a simple and formulaic thriller with very little twists and turns. However, there were actually a couple of moments that I personally admired compared to the recent films that deal with this type of topic. One of those moments was Huppert’s captivating performance as Greta, which was also the peanut butter that prevents the peanut butter and jelly sandwich from falling apart completely. When Huppert’s not in her psychotic phase, she acted like a gentle and well-mannered lady that you would normally see in your neighborhood. When she is, oh boy, you might want to hold on to your jeans when that time comes. It’s one of those films that showcase how an eye-opening performance can save the entire experience from extreme mediocrity. Moretz was also impressive in her role as Frances. Not the best performance I’ve seen from her, but her effort was highly recognizable. Even though the plot offered nothing new to the genre, Neil Jordan was able to provide some suitable filmmaking skills and a decent amount of tension to keep me entertained. There were other psycho thrillers like “Acrimony”, “When the Bough Breaks”, and “Unforgettable” that did attempt to deliver that type of tension, but they were watered down by their amount of stupidity and uncaring characters. “Greta” somehow has those types of problems as well, but they didn’t reach the point where they became excessively irritating, which was one of the reasons why I tolerated it a bit more than the films I mentioned before. As for the other flaws, I did feel that the third act overstayed its welcome by a few minutes. If there’s one scene that I would delete to make it a bit shorter, it would have to be the one where Frances was about to get crushed by the elevator walls. I can understand why it’s there, but to me, it felt like a random excuse to generate some more scares. If it’s a movie about a possessed building, then yeah, I would totally buy that, but it’s not, so…I’m not buying it.
Overall, “Greta” has some respectable qualities that are mildly enjoyable, but its obsession over its familiar tropes may make people think twice about being its friend. The performances from the two main leads and Neil Jordan’s direction were able to maintain the film’s momentum. Unfortunately, those were the only things that made it worth my time. Everything else was just a mixed bag. On the bright side, I didn’t see it as the next “Unforgettable”. If you’re in a mood for some psychological thrills, this one might suit your needs, but only for a while.