So far, 2019 has been pretty slow for cinema. This is not an uncommon thing considering January, February, and March typically don’t have the most compelling films released. So, it’s nice when a movie can surprise us. While Greta isn’t the most original thriller, it still manages to overcome problems thanks to an effective third act and poised performances from Chloe Grace Mortez and Isabelle Huppert. There is a lot to like about this one and like any film, it doesn’t come without its issues. Let’s take a look at what worked and what didn’t.
A young woman befriends a lonely widow who’s harboring a dark and deadly agenda towards her.
This movie simply doesn’t work without Isabelle Huppert’s performance as Greta. She is absolutely brilliant, convincing, and menacing in her role. While knowing her intentions from the trailer, the audience still feels pity for her as a lonely older woman living in New York. Of course as the movie goes on, that pity quickly turns into “okay this woman is INSANE”, but it’s still an impressive convincing performance that drives the film. Chloe Grace Mortez is also splendid in her role as Frances, an innocent and gullible young woman who just moved to New York with her best friend Erica (Maika Monroe). Maika also kind of steals the show with her comedic timing and witt. It’s nice to see her in a good role after so many mediocre ones since the horror gem It Follows (2014).
Greta acts as a throwback movie to the 1990s in terms of obsession infused thrillers. Several themes recall films such as Misery. While the movie never reaches the level of greatness it wants to, it’s still very entertaining and the tension slowly grows throughout the runtime. Unfortunately, certain aspects of the script bring it down a little bit, though. It doesn’t offer anything new in the genre and some things are just a little bit ridiculous. Despite this, the third act makes up for a lot of these problems and if you can put them aside, you’ll have a good time.
The dynamic between Greta and Frances is articulate and there a few scenes in particular that really draw you in. Greta comes off as very cunning and creepy, yet the viewer just knows that she is always in control and always a step ahead. While some of this isn’t always believable, it’s still functional. Frances had recently lost her mom and Greta doesn’t have contact with her daughter or anyone for that matter. So even though Greta turns out to be clinically insane, deep down you can see how they would both need each other. This is true at least in the beginning, but as the movie goes on it becomes clear what Greta’s true intentions are.
The biggest issue with Greta is how choppy the first act is. It being this way could easily make people not care to invest their full attention into it. Some of the editing choices are questionable and there either needed to be more added to certain scenes, or they needed to be taken away all together. It manages to remain interesting enough, so if you can get past the first 20-30 minutes, it’s definitely worth it.
While Greta may not break any new ground or bring anything new to the genre, it’s still worth your time. This is one of those movies that you can either choose to see in theaters or wait till Netflix. Nothing about the way its shot warrants it to be seen on the big screen, but if you wanna get out of the house and see something thrilling, then you should check it out. Of course, I always recommend people see any movie in a theater, but we all know that people would rather watch them at home sometimes. Either way, Greta deserves to be seen.