Greta Parent Guide
A psychological thriller for the faint of heart, this is a tightly edited, well acted horror film with less blood and gore than could be expected in this genre.
Parent Movie Review
Frances McCullen (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her friend Erica (Maika Monroe) have moved to New York City, where they are “breaking in” a nice Tribeca apartment for Erica’s father. Frances uses the time in the Big Apple to try to come to terms with her mother’s recent death and her father’s emerging relationship with another woman. After finding a forgotten bag on the subway, Frances returns it to the owner: a lonely Frenchwoman named Greta (Isabelle Huppert) and the two women begin a friendship. In Greta, Frances finds a mother figure, while Greta sees her as a substitute for her absent daughter. At least, that’s what seems to be happening, until Frances opens a cabinet at Greta’s house and finds it filled with bags identical to the one she found on the train. Frances begins to worry that she may not know Greta as well as she thinks she does. But getting rid of Greta turns out to be a lot harder than getting along with her…
As a piece of original writing, Greta isn’t going to win any awards. It follows a lot of the genre conventions a little too closely, which makes the first two-thirds of the film fairly predictable. This isn’t necessarily all bad, as it lulls you into a nice sense of security before all the real drama happens in the third act. But it does make the film a little less compelling than it otherwise might be.
On the other hand, this movie definitely delivers solid performances from the cast. Isabelle Huppert specifically stands out, with a performance reminiscent of Jake Gyllenhal in Nightcrawler. She seems to be taking a similar approach and spends a lot of her scenes blinking very infrequently. It’s a subtle move, but once you notice it, it stands out as odd and unsettling. Chloe Grace Moretz also does a fantastic job of playing the helpful, friendly, young adult who gets in over her head. It’s her performance that really sells Huppert’s work, and the two play off each other nicely.
Obviously, with an R rating, this film is not intended for children but it is surprisingly mild for horror films, with all of the violence happening in the last 20 minutes or so. Given its rating, there is less profanity than could be expected and no heavy drinking by main characters (although some characters are sedated against their will). There is no explicit sexual content, but some scenes of a woman being shackled to a bathtub or bed could be very disturbing to some viewers.
Greta is a little paint-by-the-numbers psychological thriller for the faint of heart, but the incredible performances by its lead actors really set it apart from other films in the genre. This production is a horror movie for people who don’t really like being terrified recreationally. Better yet, its short length keeps the pace clipping along without too much downtime. But just remember, next time you see an abandoned bag - it’s probably safer to leave it at Lost and Found.Directed by Neil Jordan. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, and Isabelle Huppert . Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release March 1, 2019. Updated April 29, 2019
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Greta rated R? Greta is rated R by the MPAA for some violence and disturbing images
Violence: A dog is poisoned and dies. An individual has a finger cut off with a cookie cutter and is show bleeding heavily. An unnamed substance is then injected directly into the stump, presumably a painkiller. A character is struck in the head with a rolling pin. A person is drugged and shot twice. A character is shown cleaning a great deal of blood off of the floor. There are scenes of a woman being shackled to a bathtub and of being gagged and shackled to a bed. A man is shot and although the shooting is not shown, the sound of the gun is heard and his body is later seen briefly. A woman is grabbed by the throat and shoved into a chest which is then locked. Bodies are shown in body bags, covered in blue powder. A woman is stalked and the stalker is shown pursuing and harassing victims. Characters argue loudly with each other in a few scenes. There is mention of suicide and torture.
Sexual Content: A woman is shown taking a bath, but without explicit nudity. A woman makes a sexually suggestive comment to a man. A woman talks about a prior lesbian relationship. A few scenes show a woman shackled to a bathtub and to a bed.
Profanity: There are over a dozen terms of deity in this movie, along with four scatological terms, four anatomical phrases and a handful of mild profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are shown drinking wine with dinner in a restaurant, and a few individuals are shown having a drink in a bar. No recreational drug use is depicted, although several individuals are unwittingly drugged with sedatives throughout the film.
Page last updated April 29, 2019
Greta Parents' Guide
For much of the film, Greta merely seems to be lonely. How would you have handled the situation? Is the risk of helping strangers too high? Or are there better ways to help people without exposing yourself to so much risk?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Greta is frighteningly obsessive in her relationship with Frances. Obsession is often fodder for novels. For a story of a man fixated on an adversary, even it’s non-human, turn to the classic Moby Dick by Herman Melville. In a romantic context, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights sets a story of all-consuming love in the brooding Yorkshire countryside. Neil Gaiman’s Coraline also focuses on possessive obsession.