No segue. Saw the trailer once or twice, but that’s about it.
The story looks like it’s about a young woman who tries to be a good person and returns an older woman’s purse, but she turns out to be a crazy person and stalks the younger woman into being her friend or mother.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Chloë Grace Moretz (SUSPIRIA , NEIGHBORS 2 , HUGO , and the upcoming THE ADDAMS FAMILY ), Isabelle Huppert (ELLE , and upcoming films BLANCHE-NEIGE  and FRANKIE ), and Maika Monroe (MARK FELT , INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 , and upcoming films VILLAINS  and THE EDUCATION OF FREDRICK FITZELL ).
In support, we have Stephen Rea (UNDERWORLD AWAKENING  and V FOR VENDETTA ), Parker Sawyer (MEGAN LEAVEY  and SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU ), and Colm Feore (THE PRODIGY , ANON , THOR , and upcoming films ASTRONAUT  and HUNTER’S MOON ).
Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing, we have Neil Jordan, known for THE BRAVE ONE (2007) and INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (1994). Jordan’s partner-in-pen is Ray Wright, known for THE CRAZIES (2010). Composing the score is Javier Navarrete, known for PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006), and the upcoming EMPEROR (2019). The cinematographer is Seamus McGarvey, known for EL ROYALE (2018), SHOWMAN (2017), NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (2016), GODZILLA (2014), and THE AVENGERS (2012). Finally, the editor is Nick Emerson, known for LADY MACBETH (2017), and the upcoming NORMAL PEOPLE (2019).
Not gonna lie… this looks kinda fun. I mean, Huppert looks like she’s a woman who doesn’t seem like the type who has fun, based only on the one The Hollywood Reporter (THR) episode back in 2016 with the actresses and Huppert looked like she didn’t want to be there. With that said, I wouldn’t have guessed this to be in her library of films, being a crazy stalker. I don’t know, but I’m pretty on board with this. Plus, I really like Moretz. How’s that retired life treating you, missy? Will it be good? No idea. But I think I might like it if Huppert goes full psychotic in this.
This is my honest opinion of: GRETA
Frances McCullen (Chloë Grace Moretz) is an otherwise sweet-natured young woman and is only trying to do the right thing when she finds a lost purse on the subway and returns it to the owner, Greta (Isabelle Huppert). At first, Greta seems harmless enough. Just a lonely older woman looking for a friend, which Frances attempts to be, even going so far as to help her adopt a dog for company. But soon, Greta becomes a little much and slowly starts to show a darker side to herself, stalking Frances at her home and her work. As the law continues to be on Greta’s side, she in turn, becomes more unhinged in wanting to keep Frances in her life and turns to drastic and terrifying measures to keep her around.
Mmph… I don’t know if I’m on board with the critics, but I can say that I got… some of what I was hoping for with this movie. By no means bad, but… not as fun as I was wishing.
So first and foremost, yes, I’m with the critics on this. Both Moretz and Huppert are fantastic. Even though Frances is a fairly two-dimensional character, Moretz has such an innocent face and voice that she sells the performance flawlessly to the point where you don’t really care. Moretz is so genuine that a more powerful performance might almost distract and make Frances less human and real. She’s just someone who is trying to do the right thing, be a good and nice person, but to a fault. I mean, she gets caught up with Greta, right? Huppert is also solid in her performance. She starts off as this vulnerable, lonely older woman who just needs a friend, and then things get crazy when she refuses to let Frances have her own life away from her and gets too clingy. For as regal and sophisticated as Huppert appears to be, she does a great job of playing a mentally unwell woman and getting a solid giggle out of me when shit hits the fan. She’s insane, but Huppert plays it so straight. There’s even moments where she’ll put on music and dance to it as she drugs sticks someone with a needle, and then will go right on dancing. It’s fantastic. And she has the perfect face for it too. She perfectly blends being innocent and sweet, to sociopathic and crazed. What can be said, other than Huppert is multi-faceted.
However, the performances only take this movie so far. There are more than a few issues that I have with this movie.
The biggest issue that I have is questioning the legalities. If you believe that you’re being stalked, the police aren’t going to say, “Just ignore her.” No, if there’s a plausible reason for concern, legit action will be taken. I can’t account for how long a restraining order would take to get processed, especially in the State of New York, but nothing would be so nonchalant. Even Frances’ manager at her job isn’t handling it like a real manager. A manager’s job is to protect their employees. If someone is causing problems and aren’t complying with “leave this building,” they have every right to call the police. They would never let the employee handle it. They aren’t aware of how dangerous or not this person is and could potentially harm, or murder, the employee. Imagine the lawsuits, dude.
Now it’s time for the biggest issue with the story. The one aspect of the story that weighs it down preventing it from being a good story, and that’s… er… the story. Yeah, on the surface, this movie seems like it could die on arrival, and… yeah, it kind of does. I mean, going to Greta’s house in person? Shit, shove the purse in her mail box and leave a note on the door. Or if you have to do it in person, then who in their right mind would go into a stranger’s house? Kindly old lady or not, going into a stranger’s house is a major no-no. Especially in New York City. I mean, seriously! No one would do this! Unless you’re that freakin’ dumb. I can see a connection getting sparked, and certainly a friendship, but the only way it could work is over time and very delicately. A clever writer would be able to figure that out, develop their characters, and slowly chip away at Greta’s sanity.
To make matters worse, later tactics for getting rid of Greta seem bafflingly backward. Frances’ roommate slash best friend, Erica (Maika Monroe), suggests the “slow fade” tactic, where you basically make it look like you’re going to show the other person attention in the future, but never follow through. Honestly, this just sounds like lying. I imagine a slow fade is something like actually following through on talking to them, but constantly push back the hangout date further back and taking longer to reconnect until the other person gets bored of waiting. Whatever the truth is with this tactic, it’s stupid either way. For one thing, this comes at a point in the story when Greta has been released from jail after barely being held there, for legal reasons that I can’t remember because they’re probably bullshit, but it’s almost immediately after this revelation that Erica suggests the slow fade. Here’s the thing, when Frances confronts Greta at the church in the next scene, it almost looks like Greta is had no interest in pursuing Frances anymore. Honestly, she probably did get reprimanded in some way and wasn’t planning on trying to contact Frances again, but Greta set up her own trap in the end when Greta kidnaps her. This is what I mean with this movie not taking its time. If it’s established that Greta was planning to confront Frances again, then the slow fade tactic could be introduced. Actually, it really shouldn’t be because it’s giving her attention that she wants, but at the least the timing would make more sense.
About the best moments in this movie is pretty much the climax when Frances wakes up in the toy box. Moretz’s performance being so deathly frightened about being locked in there, I’d swear that wasn’t acting. The way that she’s kept in the house, forced to learn French, or… Hungarian, I couldn’t tell, her escape attempt after chopping off a finger, it’s all very edge-of-your-seat. Then she’s locked in the room behind the piano again, the private detective played by Stephen Rae is killed off, and I had to admit that I was expecting this movie to end with the cycle continuing all over again when Greta finds another young woman to be her “friend.” This is actually a pretty satisfying twist when we discover that it’s Erica in disguise and poisons Greta, eventually finding Frances in the hidden room, and freeing her while locking Greta in the toy chest in the end. While I question how in Zeus’ ass-crack that wig and a southern accent could fool Greta into seeing a completely different person, especially since Erica was someone she stalked and took several pictures of in crowds of people, implying that she would have to really know her face, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy this comeuppance. I think if this movie wanted to save face, it should have gone for the bleak ending, but bad guys paying their due is always a plus for me.
Overall, this was… a pretty dumb movie. I wanted to like it because I really like both Moretz and Huppert. To their credit, they’re not the reason why this movie doesn’t work. Moretz is genuine in her performance and Huppert does sell the creepy stalker role surprisingly well when shit hits the fan. However, the writing is so subpar that I feel like afterschool specials do a better job of explaining stranger danger than this movie does. Actually, I’m pretty sure they do, making this movie a writing embarrassment. Both Moretz and Huppert deserved better. By no means the worst movie, but… man, what a huge letdown.
My honest rating for GRETA: a weak 3/5
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