TWO AND A HALF STARS A young woman returns a lost handbag to its grateful, too grateful, owner.
Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz
In the tradition of Paul Verhoeven, GRETA is an absolute delight if you don’t take it too seriously. Certainly Isabelle Huppert doesn’t and kudos to her for mucking in with this unapologetically silly but thoroughly entertaining psycho-thriller.
Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a young woman hoping to find herself in NYC following the death of her mother. The discovery of an abandoned handbag on the subway leads her to the grateful owner and before you can say ‘chewing-gum’, she and Greta (Huppert) are stuck fast. They go for walks in the park, make dinner together and generally enjoy charming inter-generational company with only a hint of mother surrogacy. It’s all sunshine and happiness until Frances finds a cupboard full of handbags which reveal Greta is, at best, a creepy stalker. Of course, she’s much, much worse.
There’s nothing at all subtle about this thriller from THE CRYING GAME's Neil Jordan which hits all its markers loud and proud. It quickly dials up anxiety as Greta’s determination becomes less and less balanced before turning full bunny-boiler (and for a generation of young people, piano lessons will never be the same again). Moretz is well cast as the vulnerable youth, with Huppert chewing scenery so enthusiastically it would put Gibson to shame. Therein the fun.
You’ll need to embrace a couple of narrative lumps but any groans are easily outweighed by sizeable shocks and squeals induced by the slick work of Jordan’s cinematographer and sound mixer. Despite its slasher-roots, GRETA is an excellent date movie. It’s fun, offers the opportunity to console (or be consoled) plus its French star extends a patina of worldliness without subjecting anyone to subtitles. It’s not high-art (it’s barely art at all), but it’s not like anyone is pretending otherwise.