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Another Take: ‘Greta’ is a psychological thriller uplifted by performances

Greta is the newest psychological thriller. It’s a Fatal Attraction like story, except it’s between an older woman and a girl in her early 20’s. Usually these type of films start with an affair of some sort and one of them turns out to be a crazy psychopath. Even though a lot of this film was easy too guess because this formula has been done a good many times, it was still thrilling the majority of the time and did find a couple ways to surprise. 

The lead actresses are Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert. Both of them do very well with their roles, especially Huppert who’s the antagonist. Huppert plays the insane role of Greta in a frightening way, she brings a sense of innocence and comfortability at first, but then flips the switch to an obviously unstable woman. She handles the different feels well and it doesn’t come across as jarring or fake. Moretz is always good, and she doesn’t break tradition here. Her performance is very believable, her and Huppert play off each other well. You clearly feel what you’re supposed to feel whenever they share a scene together. Good performances are a key component in a psychological thriller such as this. Think about it, what do you walk away from Fatal Attraction remembering? Glenn Closes’s incredibly creepy/electric performance.

I also liked Maika Monroe, who plays Erica (Frances’s best friend and roommate) she gives a really likable performance and the film finds a clever way to use her. The chemistry between her and Moretz works well too. The script is pretty good, it finds several ways to stay fresh and provide some interesting angles to a film that has a clear formula. There’s one thing in particular that happens in beginning that I thought was strange but then was able to connect at the end. I love it when one little thing that you brush off as nothing ends up being an important factor later on, I had an a-ha moment. The thrills are sufficient and while things might not seem terribly scary in the first part of the film, as the stakes are raised and after you tie some things together, you realize just how crazy Greta is.

There’s really only one thing that comes to mind as far as negatives go, and that’s that the third act drags a bit in my opinion. I think the climax and final act as a whole would’ve been even more effective if it was condensed a bit. Something big happens at the beginning of the final act and there are a couple scenes that could’ve been cut between then and when the credits roll. I think it would’ve given the ending a more tense feel. But the very end does do a good job of giving the audience a victorious feeling of revenge. There’s something that you don’t really see coming, or at least I didn’t, which is one of the ways in which they freshen up the formula.

I recommend Greta if you enjoy this genre of film. While it does follow a rather clear formula, it’s still entertaining largely thanks to the powerful performances. It also finds several ways to stay fresh and bring some originality. Oh and you might not want to chew gum after seeing this film…. you’ll understand when you see it.

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