REVIEW: ‘Greta’ has just enough entertainment value

I can’t say “Greta” featured some great decisions by its characters. However, this one has enough thrills to get by.

“Greta” doesn’t open with the character Greta (Isabelle Huppert), but rather the film’s protagonist Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz). A new resident to New York City, Frances is trying to move on with her life in the big city months after the death of her mother. The film picks up with her riding the subway back from work, and once she gets to her stop, she notices a purse.

Because the lost and found center at the subway office is closed, she looks at the ID card in the bag and find’s Greta’s address, determined to return it herself. Her endeavor is successful and Frances meets Greta, a kind woman who lives on her own. The two start on friendly terms, but Frances soon learns that Greta is rather obsessive.

As stated in the lede, some of the characters in “Greta,” namely “Frances, make some poor decisions throughout the story. However, this isn’t always a detriment to the movie.

Tonally, “Gretta” doesn’t take itself too terribly serious, in fact it gets a bit campy at times. Not that the movie goes into over-the-top goofy territory. Instead, it’s just light enough to where some of the more schlocky moments are excusable.

Most importantly, as a thriller, “Greta” does work as a whole. The film properly builds suspense through the first two acts, as Frances becomes more disturbed by Greta’s actions. The third act is a little clunky, and it certainly causes the movie to stumble, but not enough to cause it to fall over.

GretaBlog
Courtesy Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Focus Features

What gives the movie a major boost is its two leading actresses. Huppert comes into the movie with a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination, while Moretz has built an impressive filmography, earning a Critics Choice nomination in the process.

The veteran actress of course steals the show, for the most part. Huppert is fantastic here, and does masterful work in portraying the character with eerie, stalker elements. From her speech to facial expressions, Huppert is frightening.

Moretz, meanwhile, is solid in her role as Frances. The character is quite reserved and even somewhat introverted, and Moretz makes it believable with her work. Her performance helps sell some portions that feel a bit unbelievable.

In the end, “Greta” is a light, entertaining thriller with two strong leads, and even features some artistic flair thanks to Director Neil Jordan and company. The story is a little rough at times, and the script has a few issues, but overall, it’s not too bad. 3.5 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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