No film embraces the whole “no good deed goes unpunished” saying more than Greta, a psychological thriller that turns the innocent act of returning a lost purse into a stalking nightmare. The build up is slow, with decent performances from leads Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz, but the payoff in the third act makes it worth watching in the end.
Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) is still adjusting to living in a big city like New York. She’s still young and innocent enough to believe that people for the most part have good intentions. After finding a lone purse in the subway one day, Frances decides to return it to its owner, where she meets Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert). The two become friends of sorts, but Frances soon discovers a cabinet full of identical purses and learns that Greta might not be as friendly as she puts on. Cutting off their friendship, Frances learns that it’s not going to be that easy to get rid of Greta from her life.
Greta is more about creating tension then it is about creating scary moments. Isabelle Huppert is fantastic in the title role. Initially she appears to be this sweet and innocent lady who is lonely and in need of a friend, but her mental instability continues to ramp up throughout the film until she’s fully on psychotic.
The film feels like a classical thriller with sharp music cues coinciding with jump outs or quick cuts. Sometimes it works, but there are also times where it feels out of place and just plain goofy. The story really gets intense and becomes more akin to a horror film in its third act, and that is where the film shines its brightest. It becomes a battle of the wits as Frances tries to escape from Greta’s grasp. It’s a great end to the film and makes the slow build up of the first half worth the wait.
Greta ultimately delivers a perfectly fine thriller. There’s also one particular scene from the film that will no doubt be stuck in my mind for a long time; you’ll know it when you see it. And while Greta doesn’t push any boundaries of the genre, it’s entertaining enough thanks to the performances by Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz.