As you watch Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert stroll down the streets of New York City, walking the dog they just adopted and stopping to snap photos of each other on park benches, you can’t help but feel for the unlikely friendship.
Huppert, in the role of Greta Hideg, speaks with a thick French accent and an air of generational confusion. She lives alone in a secluded apartment building decorated like an antique shop, she plays the piano to entertain guests and she mistakenly leaves handbags on subway cars. All normal, “older woman living in the city” things.
For this reason, Frances, the young waitress played by Moretz, thinks nothing of the friendship she begins to form with the older woman after returning her lost purse. Despite a harsh claim from her roommate Erica (Maika Monroe) that she may just be trying to fill the Mom-shaped hole left in her heart after her mother’s passing, Frances seems to enjoy her time with Greta and the first twenty-something minutes of the film are spent developing a sweet, innocent bond between the two.
But as anyone who was treated to the trailer prior to their screening knows, nothing about “Greta” is innocent. After a shocking reveal (shot and edited in a way that is so campy it may make you laugh out loud), things turn sinister in the blink of an eye.
Huppert is perfect in the titular role, and at most times manages to steal the show. Greta only grows more and more evil as the film progresses, but you sort-of cling to the hope that you can continue to root for her (this may be in part thanks to her impeccable fashion—the blouses! The hair! Please try to tell me you wouldn’t take her on as your adoptive-Grandmother figure.)
As mentioned before, “Greta” tends to be campy and proud. One scene in particular, where Greta stands outside of the restaurant Frances works at for hours, is completely ridiculous in the best way possible. Later, Greta causes a major, table-flipping scene in the same restaurant, a moment that is equally as insane and sets the stage for the batsh*t final act.
As with any B-movie, there are some plot points that either feel clunky or have no place in the script at all, like when Frances arranges a meeting with the girlfriend of Greta’s daughter (who is supposed to be residing in Paris). Nothing about the interaction feels natural, and its glaringly obvious that its only purpose in the film was to very clearly and unmistakably say “this is what is going on.”
Like Cory Finley’s thriller “Thoroughbreds,” released around this time last year, “Greta” isn’t going for any awards or acclaim amongst the film community. Director Neil Jordan knew exactly what he was doing with the film, even at times when the validity of that statement could very well be called into question.
A thriller at its core, don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling as Greta glides across her living room in ballet formation to commit murder—this seems to be the heart and soul of “Greta.”