Going into Greta, I had read nothing about the film but only knew the cast was comprised of Chloe Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, and the incredible Isabelle Huppert. Starting out, it was introduced as a thriller, and still, I didn’t quite know what to expect from the film but what I got was so much better and stranger than I could’ve ever imagined. In Greta, Chloe Grace Moretz plays Frances, a young girl who loses her mother and finds herself living in New York with her friend, Erica. One day while riding the subway, she finds a woman’s purse. Because Frances is a decent person, she returns the bag to an older woman named Greta (Isabelle Huppert). As they begin to grow closer, Frances discovers something about Greta that chills her to her very core, and she tries to get away. The more she tries, the more attached and insistent Greta becomes. The story that follows is bizarre, outrageous and just downright entertaining.
This role for Isabelle Huppert is something I would never have imagined her in in my entire life, but it works. While certain scenes are awkward and corny, they somehow work to create this engaging film. There’s a scene where Greta uses chewing gum as an attack, and it is just the most bizarre and awkwardly delivered line. Another scene involves her ballet dancing at an inappropriate time that I can’t quite tell if it was intended to be funny or just came off as so out there, that the audience had to laugh.
Maika Moore provides a lot of the actual comedic relief in the film. She is the sassy and no bullshit friend who tells Frances like it is. It is a perfect fit for her. This role is an interesting performance for Moretz because, in some scenes, she is fantastic and in some scenes, it is just odd. Some of the lines in the film are like Tommy Wiseau’s The Room level bad, but it works for some reason in the end.
What works so well in the film is that it wins the audience over. In the beginning, you think that it is decent, but the ending brings it all home and makes it feel like it will have a special place as a cult classic. It is certainly not the film you expect from Huppert and company, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t thoroughly entertained by it. It would have made a perfect addition to the Midnight Madness line up here at TIFF.