Isabelle Huppert is electric and, at times, relatable as Greta, a lonely woman who just wants companionship. But her tactics take the stalker genre to explosive new heights.
Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz
March 1, 2019
A twisted, campy thriller that evokes sympathy, skepticism, laughter and fear, Greta is a genre-bending take on a surrogate mother-daughter relationship gone wrong. The Queen of French cinema, Isabelle Huppert, plays a woman seeking out a friendship that mirrors the one she once had with her daughter.
It’s easy to sympathize with the lonely and desperate Greta, but her choices will make you question just how far people are willing to go to fill a void in their lives. On the plus side, this unconventional relationship will make you feel way more normal about your own crazy family dynamic!
The mother-daughter bond
After the young, innocent, Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) finds Greta’s handbag abandoned on a subway train and returns it to the seemingly lovely older woman, the two grow close and begin a mutually beneficial friendship. Frances is lonely too, as she’s on her own in New York City and has recently lost her mother. Greta becomes the mother figure she’s been longing for, until Frances learns Greta may not be who she seems. Frances soon realizes the handbag was a trap and she’s not the first young woman to be fooled by the charming but manipulative Greta.
The relatable motives
While Greta goes way too far to get what she wants, her motives are relatable. These are two women with good intentions who bond over common interests: It’s easy to see that they can give each other what’s missing in their lives. Greta is well-intentioned, as long as she’s getting her way. She offers Frances the motherly figure she’s missing, and at first it’s easy to sympathize with the woman who seemingly can’t make new friends without orchestrating a set-up. We all know a mother who would do anything for her child, but as we learn more about Greta, we see that her need for control and companionship is dangerous.
The humanity within the thriller
Greta allows you to see yourself as either Greta or Frances, who are both victims in their own ways, and it makes you consider how you’ve behaved in similar experiences. The film plays on themes of loneliness and isolation, and how acting on desperate emotions can lead to extreme, psychotic choices. We’re all more susceptible to danger and manipulation during major life changes, when we feel defenseless and lonely. Frances is an easy target in a vulnerable position, and Greta sees this and preys on it. But Greta is vulnerable in her own way too, and she’s the kind of anti-hero that will polarize audiences.
This tale of a surrogate mother-daughter relationship flips the story into an over-the-top psychological thrill ride, in one of the most exciting performances of Huppert's career. Greta is truly a movie that’ll give you all the feels as it toys with your emotions and makes you realize just how ordinary your own family dynamics are in comparison.
Greta is a jaw-dropping film that needs to be experienced with a crowd.
While the core of this story is incredibly frightening, there is tons of fun to be had with Greta. It’s filled with twists and turns that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat.