It’s camp, it’s creepy, it’s about loneliness and using designer handbags to get friends. It’s a great suspense thriller! Not at all what I was expecting. There are a couple of plot holes, but it is well paced. I admit to shrieking (just once, but still….. I’m so lame).
Despite a familiar set-up, Greta truly comes into its own in the final act, a ’90s thriller throwback elevated by Isabelle Huppert tearing up the scenery and dancing all over it.
The pace seldom lags, the cinematography is luscious, and a dream sequence has a clever twist.
London Evening Standard
Frances finds a handbag on the New York subway and promptly returns it to Greta, an eccentric French piano teacher who loves tea and classical music. Having recently lost her mother, young Frances strikes up a seemingly harmless friendship with the lonely and kindly widow who enjoys her company. But when Greta’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic and obsessive, Frances does whatever it takes to end the toxic relationship before things spirals out of control.
No matter the role, the French actor Isabelle Huppert’s piercing stare is always menacing and irresistible. Here the glare is pushed to the extreme. At first, Huppert depicts Greta as a fragile old woman, a lost soul in New York whose face radiates warmth and motherliness. But when betrayed, Greta reveals herself to be a monster whose scare tactics involve intense eye contact; by taking longer to blink, the isolated figure reduces her victims to a withering wreck. What unites both sides of Greta’s personality, though, is intense loneliness. A character driven insane by loneliness.
What makes Huppert’s performance so wonderful is that here she plays a straight-up psychopath. And by doing so with the same degree of seductive reserve that she’s brought to the rest of her roles, Huppert clarifies why she’s always been one of the most intense and unnerving actresses in the world. It’s not just because she’s brave enough to take the parts that other stars won’t — it’s also because she refuses to hide behind them.
USA 2019, 95 min, rated R13 (bloody violence & content may disturb)
Directed by Neil Jordan
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore & Stephen Rea