Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Isabelle Huppert, Maika Monroe
Director: Neil Jordan
Running Time: 99 mins
Greta is an American film about a young woman who bonds with a lonely older woman, however the true nature of their friendship soon appears to be far darker than it first seemed.
While Greta’s often fun-loving and hyperbolic style makes for an entertaining watch at times, not to mention two fantastic lead performances from Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert, it lacks a certain audacity that would have definitely made it a far more enjoyable and striking watch. It’s a fun movie, and its various thrills and spills are more than enough to entertain, but I really felt there was more potential to be unlocked here, and that’s where Greta really feels like a disappointment to me.
Let’s start on the bright side, with the more ridiculous, hyperbolic side to the movie. Although it tells a fairly disturbing story about loneliness, personal trauma and very unsettling stalking, the most memorable and entertaining part of Greta is how it does all that with a brilliant brand of deliberately melodramatic, almost playful filmmaking.
In that, the movie never really feels like the heavy drama that it could well have been, and although that doesn’t always do it favours, it definitely makes it as entertaining a watch as possible, with the extremity of Isabelle Huppert’s creepy persistence in pursuing Chloë Grace Moretz across all of New York City coming off as more ridiculous than genuinely disturbing.
Couple that with Huppert’s delightfully strange performance that fits the film’s hyperbolic vibes perfectly, as well as hugely likeable turn from Chloë Grace Moretz, and you have a film that takes on a rather unsettling topic, yet delivers it with a good degree of fun, energy and even a sense of humour, all of which makes it a thoroughly enjoyable watch.
However, while I had good fun with Greta, I still felt that it was really missing out on its full potential. Although it definitely impresses with its more fun-loving side, it really lacks an audacity and boldness in its story, and as such comes across as a little generic and inconsequential.
Above all, the key as to why Isabelle Huppert is so persistent and relentless in her aim to ‘be friends’ with Chloë Grace Moretz is easily the most dramatically interesting and important part of the story, yet it’s presented to you on a plate far too early on in the story, leaving little mystery and unpredictability at play as the film moves into its latter stages.
The premise is very reminiscent of the likes of Misery and particularly Psycho, yet both of those films leave it to the end of the movie to give an explanation for everything that you’ve just watched, providing both an exciting twist and a satisfying conclusion to the tie the whole movie up.
Greta, on the other hand, is more linear and basic with its story. As such, its final act, while still enjoyable (and incredibly reminiscent of the second half of Psycho), almost feels as if it’s left there hanging, with more and more twists built on top of the earlier story effectively to make the film a bit longer.
Instead, there are some more cleverly dark elements to the final act that, with a bolder approach, could have made for a really striking finale, but it’s all just a little too simple towards the end, which really underlines some of the film’s key storytelling weaknesses throughout.
Overall, I had good fun with Greta, and thanks to two fantastic lead performances and an enjoyably hyperbolic atmosphere throughout, it’s an easy-going and thoroughly enjoyable watch from beginning to end. However, it’s far from a perfect movie, and with a screenplay that lacks the depth, boldness or real dramatic intrigue to genuinely thrill you, it ultimately finishes up as a bit of an underwhelming piece, lacking the audacity to utilise the story’s disturbing potential to full effect, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.1.