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Greta Movie Review

Greta (2019) movie poster Greta

Theatrical Release: March 1, 2019 / Running Time: 98 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Neil Jordan / Writers: Ray Wright (story & screenplay), Neil Jordan (screenplay)

Cast: Isabelle Huppert (Greta Hideg), Chloë Grace Moretz (Frances McCullen), Maika Monroe (Erica Penn), Colm Feore (Chris McCullen), Stephen Rea (Brian Cody), Zawe Ashton (Alexa Hammond), Thaddeus Daniels (Officer Deroy), Jeff Hiller (Maitre D' Henri)


Writer-director Neil Jordan gets his widest theatrical release in over a decade in Greta. Occupying a space between arthouse fare
and mainstream thriller, Greta might not easily be recognized as the work of the Academy Award-winning The Crying Game filmmaker if not for a late appearance made by the actor Stephen Rea.

An original film conceived and co-written by Ray Wright (who picks up his first big screen credit since 2010's long-shelved Case 39 and remake The Crazies), Greta sees conscientious new-to-New York waitress Frances McCullen (Chloë Grace Moretz) finding a handbag left behind on a subway train. It holds typical handbag fodder, including easily-found identification, some pills and cash. Though her friend-turned-roommate Erica (It Follows' Maika Monroe) teases her about it, Frances has no intention other than to return the purse to its apparent owner.

Isabelle Huppert plays Greta Hideg, a lonely French widow who is more than she initially seems in the New York thriller "Greta."

She gets much, much more than she bargained for when she drops off the bag to a Miss Greta Hideg (Academy Award nominee Isabelle Huppert), a recently widowed French woman who is estranged from her adult daughter and desperately in need of some company. Frances, who recently lost her own mom, is happy to spend time with Greta and hear stories about her husband and daughter. But then she finds a cabinet full of purses just like the one she found, each holding the same everyday items inside and a Post-It note with the name and phone number of the person who apparently returned it on the outside.

The discovery unsettles Frances, who stops returning Greta's calls. But this is one persistent widow. Calls, texts, and voicemails keep coming and Greta even shows up at the swanky restaurant where Frances works. Greta just wants to apologize and continue kindling the budding friendship they had, but Frances isn't having any of it. And so our titular villain, who takes a real shine to Frances' chewing gum analogy, escalates her stalking game, which she can because apparently restraining orders are this big, slow ordeal.

Greta persists and Frances' plan to follow Erica's "slow fade" advice seems like no match to the deeply disturbed antagonist, who may have told more than a few big lies.

Friend/roommate Erica (Maika Monroe) offers some comfort and advice to the harassed Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz).

Greta offers not a full breath, but a tiny bit of fresh air in a familiar genre wrapper. There are no supernatural or occult elements and unlike so many horror movies, this one is not a remake, spin-off, or sequel. We find Jordan wading into genre territory he has infrequently dabbled in before (In Dreams, The Company of Wolves), with medium results.
No one is going to embrace this the way they did Hereditary, A Quiet Place, and Luca Guadgnino's Suspiria last year. In fact, if the early IMDb score is any indication, moviegoers may be less than appreciative of this, while critics look to be divided and measured in their reactions.

The effectiveness of the thrills may be inversely proportional to the number of similar movies you have seen. 10 Cloverfield Lane, Cape Fear, Fear, Fatal Attraction.... these are the kinds of movies that Greta evokes and yet it seems certain to have less impact than all of the above. Focus Features' decision to open the film wide in 2,000 theaters is a bit puzzling. Though accomplished, Moretz has never really been a draw or even been expected to. Does anyone even remember that she held the title role in the 2013 Carrie remake? In fact, the bigger attraction here for viewers of a certain age and taste may be top-billed Huppert, the respected French veteran who drew a rare foreign language acting Oscar nomination two years ago for Elle and has racked up some notable English language credits over the course of a career that spans nearly fifty years. She gives the title character the right amount of menace while also managing to generate some sympathy.

A fulfilling final act strengthens the picture, but no molds are broken. We mostly just get swept up in Greta's psychological warfare on Frances and take comfort in the fact that it isn't us being terrorized.

Related Reviews:
Now in Theaters: Isn't It RomanticSerenity
Isabelle Huppert: ElleThe Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: ThemAmourHeaven's GateDead Man Down
Chloe Grace Moretz: SuspiriaThe 5th WaveDark Places • Let Me In • The Equalizer • Dark ShadowsHugo
Maika Monroe: It FollowsIndependence Day: ResurgenceLabor Day
Written by Ray Wright: The CraziesCase 39
10 Cloverfield LaneChloeRoom

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Reviewed February 28, 2019.

Text copyright 2019 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2019 Focus Features, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment Showbox, Starlight Culture Entertainment Group, and Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland.
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