Greta: This Film is All Kinds of Bonkers

Isabelle Huppert stars as Greta and Chloë Grace Moretz as Frances in GRETA, a Focus Features release. Credit: Jonathan Hession/Focus Features.

Greta is a bonkers thriller that will lead viewers to think twice when it comes to returning the items they find on the subway.

When Frances McCullen (Chloë Grace Moretz) sees a purse sitting on a subway chair, she acts like any Good Samaritan would.  She looks up the owner and naturally, she returns the bag.  What Frances doesn’t expect is that this woman, Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert) would decide to stick around her like glue.  The film thinks of her as more of a chewing gum type but let’s be honest in that glue is the better word choice.

The thing with Frances is that she’s grieving her mother’s death so she’s got a hole in her heart.  Unfortunately, her relationship with her dad, Chris McCullen (Colm Feore), isn’t the greatest.  All of his calls just about go to voicemail.

She may come off as this innocent woman in her 60s but deep down, a sinister is just waiting to get out!  This woman behaves as any woman might by turning to piano as a way of filling the void.  Her husband is dead and her daughter, Nikola, is not returning any of her calls or letters.  When Frances comes into her life, it’s as if she’s manna from heaven.  In all fairness, Frances is certainly manna to Greta but not in the way that anyone might think.

At first, Frances thinks she is doing the right thing.  Her roommate, Erica Penn (Maika Monroe) would beg to differ.  The two may share a Tribeca loft but they don’t share the same natural instincts.  Not in the slightest!  Frances helps this woman in adopting a shelter dog before it gets put to sleep.  This serves two purposes:  rescuing a dog from certain death and stopping the loneliness.  Easier said than done, of course!

Before we knows it, Greta is following Frances everywhere.  She goes as far as to stalk her outside and even inside the Manhattan restaurant where she works.  Sadly, there’s nothing that the cops can do to stop this from happening.  It’s a shame, too, because things reach the point of no return.  While Frances is a white woman, part of me can’t help but wonder how the police would have reacted if she were a person of color.

Ray Wright and Neil Jordan’s screenplay mixes both psychological and horror in this thriller.  The horror here is of the sinister type.  It is the type that nobody would want to become the victims.  If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that we should never–under any circumstances–return lost property to their owners.  It may just happen to be what keeps us alive!

Greta starts out as a film that looks to be sweet and innocent but soon the twists and turns start coming in a sinister way.  One could very easily label this a romantic thriller but without the romance.  I say this because of the relationship between our two leads.  There are certainly thrills to be had in this film that will surely find a home on the midnight circuit.

DIRECTOR:  Neil Jordan
SCREENWRITERS:  Ray Wright & Neil Jordan
CAST:  Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, and Stephen Rea

Greta held its world premiere during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.  Focus Features opens the film on March 1, 2019. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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