Thursday, February 28, 2019

film review: Greta

Directed by Neil Jordan
Written by Ray Wright and Neil Jordan
ChinoKino score: C

Review by Allan Tong

Greta is entertaining for the wrong reasons. The new Neil Jordan film is supposed to be a thriller-horror about a stalker (along the lines of Misery), but winds up being an uninentional parody. Pity, because it stars world-class talent Isabelle Huppert and the fine, young actress Chloe Grace Moretz.

The story boils down to older Greta (Huppert in an English-speaking role), ensnaring young Frances (Moretz). Lonely widow Greta turns Frances into her surrogate daughter while Frances recently lost her mother. Both women are disconnected from their families, so they befriend each other spending evenings where Greta teaches Frances the piano among other things. Frances prefers to hang out with this older French-Hungarian woman than younger women her age.

However, Frances discovers that Greta has deceived her into becoming friends and suddenly cuts off their relationship. Here, the stalking begins as Greta follows Frances everywhere across Manhattan and Brooklyn (filmed in downtown Toronto) at work and home. Greta even invades Frances' dreams and her roommate's life.

Here too the film takes a sudden descent into implausibility. Greta miraculously shows up at places with a speed and finesse that would impress Superman. Also, Greta's hysterics also over-the-top. [spoiler alert] I predict her table-flipping moment will become a viral meme.

Neil Jordan is a superb screenwriter and director who has offered superb insight into women in films such as Mona Lisa and The Crying Game. In Greta, however, he attempts to grasp genre, but his execution is sloppy. Greta is not scary. You won't chew your fingernails watching it. Me, I laughed when I knew I shouldn't, and I don't think that was the intended reaction. Quel dommage.

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