Simple Review: Friends until the end…of your LIFE!
For some of you super cool cats out there making new friends is effortless, for others of us climbing Mt. Everest would be an easier task than finding companionship. It is strange that we live in a world where we are all constantly connected to our internet social networks yet our list of actual, physical relationships grows smaller and smaller, especially if you are a natural introvert. In order to find a few friends out of the seven billion people on this blue and green ball floating through the universe, sometimes you have to try new ways to meet people. You could join a club, take dance lessons, try a cooking class or, let’s say, leave a bag on the subway with your information in it in hopes a good citizen will return it to you. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. This week Hollywood delivers the touching story of a woman trying to find someone to connect with in this crazy, crazy world with the release of Greta. Does Greta have the right personality to become our B.F.F. or is she destined to become our frenemy? There is only one way to find out my friends, so read on or in the box you go.
I am not entirely sure who makes the trailers for particular movies but whoever made the trailer for Greta did not do the movie any favors. If you have seen the trailer then you have seen most of the movie and the surprises it holds, which seems to be happening more with each new movie. I do not understand why anyone involved with a movie would let a trailer be released that basically spoils the movie, especially a thriller or horror movie. Knowing what was going to happen made reviewing Greta especially challenging, well as challenging as sitting in a movie theater can be. In my quest to provide you guidance through the maze of cinematic offerings I faced the challenge and am here to deliver the best, and worst, Greta has to give us. It is the least I could do for you my reliable reader and….friend. ( awwwww)
As always, let us start with the positives Greta has to offer us, the viewing public. The highlight of the film is the performances of the two main lead actresses, Isabelle Huppert as Greta and Chloë Grace Moretz as Francis. Isabelle steals the show with her psychotic portrayal of Greta. She gives Greta the vulnerability the character needs to ensnare the unwitting Francis in her devious trap and she can flat out play crazy! When she does cross over the thin line of sanity she is definitely a threat to Francis and Isabelle does a great job conveying that threat. Chloë brings the right amount of youthful naivety to the role of Francis that you do understand how she fell into Greta’s trap. There is a criticism of her performance that has more to do with the script than to her acting, that I will get to in the negative part of this review. (Contain your anticipation) There are only a few other cast members that are involved in the unfolding events, with Maika Monroe standing out as Francis’ roommate Erica. Erica has a few moments in the movie to shine and Maika takes full advantage of them.
To my surprise, the movie is directed by Oscar-winner Neil Jordan, who also wrote the script with Ray Wright. Jordan has directed such films as The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire and The Brave One and he does a suitable job on this movie, most notably with the cast. He keeps the tension building as Greta gets deeper into her psychotic plan and builds the appropriate atmosphere to keep you interested in the story. Visually the movie is adequate with nothing distractingly bad nor impressive either which is a bit surprising considering the other films he has directed. It is not a criticism as such, but I do wish he would have been more creative visually to add to the tension. I am not sure how much my opinion is being swayed by the fact the trailer gave away every tense scene so maybe, just maybe, that altered the way I watched the visuals of the movie.
As we rush headlong into the negatives, the biggest complaint is the script. The plot of this movie is extremely predictable even if you had not seen the trailer, and the cliches that go along with it. Greta falls into the psycho stalker troupe delivered by other movies such as Single White Female, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle and Play Misty for Me ( bet you did not see me using that reference!) so while the performances and the pacing keep you watching, you will be well aware of what will happen next. There is nothing new or original to make this stand out from the other movies like this which makes it easily forgettable.
The other negative from the script is the character of Francis. She is too morally flawless as she only has the ability to do the “right thing”. The script tries to set her up as this perfect person which hinders you from identifying with her as a person. Yes, she is new to the big, dangerous metropolis of Manhatten and if they had made her character come from a small town in the midwestern U.S. then you might accept that she would be unaware of the dangers around her but she is from Boston. As we all know Bostonians are so mean they made a cake, added creme to it and called it a pie! The HORROR!!! Francis doesn’t defend herself in situations that you would think someone would lash out physically, save for one scene that is surprisingly violent and, to be honest, satisfying as we finally see her defend herself. If she were a bit more street smart and had any kind of flaw, it would have been more impressive that Greta fooled her. Instead, you kind of get why it was so easy to ensnare her in the web of craziness. ( that’s the working title of the book I am writing about my first marriage!)
Aside from the story and poor development of Francis, the rest falls into cliches and stupidity. Greta has the ability to teleport everywhere she needs to be in order to complete her plan. She is surprisingly strong for a small woman in her 60’s that fights with young women 40 years younger than herself. Of course, law enforcement is powerless to do anything to stop Greta and when Francis goes missing not one police officer thinks to check Greta’s house even though Francis has called them repeatedly about her. New York City seems to be damn near empty as one character is chased into Time Square and there are barely any people around, which is impossible. If you are a dog lover I have to warn you this is another movie that has canine-icide, it’s been a ruff couple of year for dogs in movies. ( Yes I couldn’t resist that pun) And the biggest, most horrific sin of all: this movie advocates talking in a movie theater!! This is completely unacceptable and someone needs to edit that scene out of the film immediately.
We have reached that point in the review where I must conclude my ramblings as I am headed to the subway to leave bags in seats with my information in it in hopes of meeting the woman of my dreams. Desperate times call for desperate actions! So, my friends, I have to recommend skipping Greta at the movie theater. I would say this movie would make a good rental or something to watch on Netflix, but it is too average to suggest you spend your hard earned money on a trip to the theater.
I hope you enjoyed reading my latest entry to the greatest blog on the world wide web and if you did please like, follow and share so we can take over the world!
As always, thanks for your time!
The Movie Psycho