‘Greta’ offers suspense through dark tale of stalking

A simple act of kindness can go a long way. But for some, it can end in a life-altering disaster.

Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Neil Jordan, “Greta” stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert.

A very naive young woman named Frances, played by Moretz, is on the subway one day and notices a purse that is left behind. Trying to be a good person, she returns the purse to the owner, Greta, at her home.

la-1551307675-snl3k2tk8l-snap-imageGreta is an eccentric French piano teacher who loves tea and good music. The two strike up a harmless friendship, but Greta’s behavior eventually becomes increasingly erratic and Frances does whatever it takes to end the relationship.

Watching the trailer before going to see the film made me intrigued, because I do like thrillers and I also like who was casted in the film. However, I did read some reviews, and a few said to lower my expectations for this movie. So I really didn’t know what to think going into this film.

Moretz does a good job of playing her part, and she has a lot to do with her character because she has to go through a lot of different emotions at a rapid pace throughout scenes.

There are also parts that were physically demanding. I think Moretz handled them very well and was able to pull it off by delivering a sympathetic performance. She was believable and was able to play as a naive person who is not used to living in the city, which is important for the storyline to work.

She makes choices so anyone who has ever lived in a big city before is going to look at her and wonder why she is making the decisions that she is making, even after seeing all of the red flags Greta’s character gives off throughout the film.

This film would not even be close to as good as it is without Moretz and Huppert as the two lead actresses. Without a doubt, the star of this film is the title character, Greta, played by Huppert, who essentially plays three different characters.

At the beginning of the film, she plays a gentle, welcoming woman who seems to want to know more about Frances once her purse is returned to her. Then she quickly becomes an obsessive person who is stalking Frances on social media and watching her at work. Lastly, it becomes a toxic, psychotic relationship when Greta reveals who she is.

Huppert does a great job of portraying each one of these characters. Her performance greta_03stands out in each part of the film.

Although she doesn’t have a very demanding role, Maika Monroe plays the streetwise friend, Erica, and roommate who tries to keep Frances out of trouble. Her character was sort of like the audience’s voice throughout the film, and she shared some of the same frustration the audience may have felt.

The script is filled with many clichés and so many familiar scenes, I could see where it was going, to some extent. It reminded me of the kind of films that were made in the ‘90s. There were tons of movies where there was a crazy person who followed people everywhere, or a character started out fine but eventually turned out to be crazy. It’s the kind of film we’ve seen before.

Greta displays so many warning signs early on  that just about anybody can realize it was a situation they needed to get out of. I felt like I was constantly waiting for the protagonist to see these obvious signs. When she doesn’t, it becomes a little frustrating.

Yes, her character is naive, and that is established early in the film. So I felt I could give it a pass after seeing she was a trusting person. But there eventually comes points in the movie when some physicality would have been a good thing to see, and I didn’t see that from Moretz’s character at all.

Still, there are some high points to the film. There is a great build up of suspense. There are parts when tension brews for awhile, and it is a well-directed film with good acting. But it builds to a finale that asks the audience to take the end of the film at face value, while I think there are so many different ways that this character could have gotten out of the situation she ends up in.

I would give “Greta” an 8 out of 10.