SHOULD I SEE IT?
Isabelle Huppert is starring in an American film! And it’s a domestic thriller/horror movie about a stalker? Let’s go!
Some will find the film’s campy tone and empty-headed plotting fun and goofy.
Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert should make another movie together. They have great chemistry together.
Yeah, this thing is not all that good. Whatever compelling suspense it creates is snuffed out by dim-witted writing and some predictable twists and turns, which leave our head in our hands.
Manages to waste both Moretz and Huppert’s talents - something I didn’t think would be even possible.
A mess of a movie. Also, skipping this spares everyone having to explain the purpose of Stephen Rea’s character - arguably the most idiotic private investigator in cinematic history.
Silly for awhile, and frustrating the rest of the time, Neil Jordan’s Greta is a pulpy, trashy thriller about a young Manhattan waitress, Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz), who returns a missing purse to Greta, a lonely, older woman (Isabelle Huppert). Their friendship and the subsequent unraveling of said friendship sets in motion a bonkers movie about lies, manipulation, abduction, and tap dancing around in nylons on hardwood floors with Franz Liszt records playing in the background.
There’s also a locking toy chest, but by the time that enters into the story, Greta has already gone hopelessly off the rails.
The purse, left behind on the subway, provides Frances with an ID card and address with which to find Greta. Upon returning the purse, Frances accepts an invitation for tea, finding Greta a sweet-natured, if not somewhat eccentric woman. Proficient on piano, she is cultured and Frances, reeling from the recent loss of her mother, is open and affirming to Greta’s kindness and interesting stories and questions.
Working in a high-end restaurant, Frances shares a spacious apartment with best friend Erica (Maika Monroe), whose wealthy father apparently bought and paid for the place so his daughter could live in the city.
I don’t know. Sure. Whatever. It works.
Erica is pure Millennial through and through (the normally terrific Monroe feels badly miscast here), and Frances feels her heightened jealousy as she spends more time with Greta. A night dining in together turns on a dime when Frances realizes that Greta has been less than truthful. Her immediate departure sets in motion a nightmarish series of stalking episodes, phone calls, texts, and all the rest.
Greta could be great fun, and kind of is in fits and starts. Though it dumbs things way, way down, Moretz and Huppert are actually quite good throughout the film. Huppert especially seems to be having the time of her life, and Moretz looks to be almost beaming in some of the scenes she shares with her internationally acclaimed co-star.
Unfortunately, the script Jordan has co-written with Ray Wright grows increasingly insipid and ridiculous. One sequence where Erica is being pursued by Greta around New York City, revealed to Frances in photos sent to her by Greta’s phone, is laugh out loud absurd.
Frances: “Erica, she’s behind you?”
Erica: “No, she’s not. I don’t see her.”
(Phone beeps, Frances checks phone)
Frances: “Erica! She’s walking right behind you.”
Erica: “There’s no one there, I swear.”
This goes on for minutes.
By the time the stakes are elevated, the idiocy of Greta has drowned out any suspense. And this is before the worst, and stupidest, private investigator in cinematic history (Stephen Rea) enters the fray.
Then again, maybe that is the best part of the movie. I kid you not. This guy is (all caps) THE WORST!
At times, Greta is entertaining enough to ignore the foolishness. There’s a peculiar delight in seeing Huppert steel her eyes, clench her jaw, and deliver creepy, unsettling dialogue. She is Isabelle Freakin’ Huppert after all… she can do anything!
And hey…you know what, come to think of it…with a lot of wine, or other adult beverages, and a bunch of friends to hang with, Greta might just be wacky enough to justify the time.
For the rest of us, not imbibing in spirits and hanging with our crew, Greta is nothing more than a shabbily written, half-hearted thriller that Moretz and Huppert are simply unable to save from self-directed failure.
CAST & CREW
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Stephen Rea, Zawe Ashton, Colm Feore, Jeff Hiller, Parker Sawyers.
Director: Neil Jordan
Written by: Neil Jordan, Ray Wright (screenplay); Ray Wright (story)
Release Date: March 1, 2019