GRETA is a contemporary psychological thriller from Academy Award-winning director Neil Jordan. Co-written by Jordan and Ray Wright, it tells the story of Frances McCullen (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young woman struggling to fit into New York life. She has a job as a waitress in an upscale Manhattan restaurant, misses her deceased mother, and feels estranged from her newly married father. Her only true friend is Erica Penn (Maika Monroe), a boisterous 20-something from a wealthy family with whom she shares an apartment.
After discovering a handbag on a New York subway train, Frances sets about returning it to its rightful owner. This good deed places her in the orbit of an enigmatic middle-aged widow named Greta, played by the unstoppable Isabelle Huppert.
Grieving for her recently deceased mother, Frances strikes up an unusual friendship with Greta. As she tells the older woman, she is known by her friends for her loyalty. She is like chewing gum – she “sticks around”.
In between dog-shopping and cosy dinners, Frances makes an alarming discovery that changes her perspective on her new friend. When she tries to sever ties with Greta, things get stranger and more sinister and Frances’ once innocent remarks take on a very ironic resonance as Greta unleashes her inner stalker.
Seamus McGarvey, the film’s director of photography, adds: “It has all these things which make you think, ‘what a sweet story it’s going to be.’ Then, gradually, the unsettling tributaries of unease arrive. It’s done very subtly. These little harbingers of doom start appearing.”
In GRETA, Jordan delivers an entertaining melodrama, with Huppert and Moretz working exceptionally well together in the centre of it all.
Huppert delivers a gloriously theatrical performance as a deceitful woman who becomes dangerously obsessed with Moretz’s naive and trusting Frances. As a female antagonist of very small stature, it makes what she does – and what she is capable of – even more unexpected and terrifying. As a game of cat and mouse ensues, the legendary French actress gives a masterclass in crazy. She takes all the neuroses of her troubled characters in The Piano Teacher and Elle and amps them up a notch.
Monroe gives a great performance as Erica, the apparently conceited and snarky roommate who becomes more and more involved as the film progresses. The film also stars Stephen Rea as a private investigator hired to investigate Greta and Colm Feore Frances’ estranged father, while Zawe Ashton plays a mysterious woman with important information about Greta’s past.
In GRETA, Jordan is doing what he does best: subverting genre expectations and creating a unique and unexpected experience.
GRETA is a contemporary thriller in the vein of films such as Fatal Attraction and Misery, with various twists and turns that the audience might not see coming. It is a skilfully executed psychological thriller that balances terror with elegant comedy, making it hard to resist… like an unattended bag on the subway that’s just begging you to look inside.
GRETA is distributed by Filmfinity (Pty) Ltd. and will be released nationwide on 5 July 2019
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwSr1KnGPTo
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