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MOVIE REVIEW

Greta

also known as “Greta - Viúva Solitária,” “La viuda,” “Obsessão,” «В объятиях лжи»
MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for some violence and disturbing images.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Psychological-Thriller Horror Mystery
Length:
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
March 1, 2019 (wide—2,411 theaters)
DVD: May 28, 2019
Copyright, Focus Features click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Focus Features

Difficulty of losing a parent

Loneliness

Grief

Mourning the death of a mother

Copyright, Focus Features

Evil people who take advantage of the kindness of others

Deceptive and dangerous people—who pose as something quite different than they really are

Crazy stalkers

Evil people who uses cell phones to terrorize others

Copyright, Focus Features

Psychopaths

The difference between being naive and being foolish or stupid

What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer

About the fall of mankind to worldwide depravity


What does the Bible say about true widows? Answer

Featuring: Chloë Grace MoretzFrances (Frankie)
Isabelle HuppertGreta Hideg
Zawe AshtonAlexa
Maika MonroeErica
Colm Feore
See all »
Director: Neil Jordan
Producer: Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
Lawrence Bender Productions
Little Wave Productions [Ireland]
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Focus Features. Trademark logo.
Focus Features

Francis (aka Frankie) is a young girl just making it through life the best she can. She spends most of her time as a waitress at a high-class restaurant. Like many of the citizens of New York City, she commutes to said restaurant by means of subway. One night on the ride home, she notices a handbag left behind on one of the seats. Now most people would probably leave it there and figure that the owner will return for it at some point. Not Frankie though. She takes the initiative of returning the handbag to the owner. After a solid search of the handbag, it turns out the owner of the bag is a woman named Greta Heig (Isabelle Huppert).

So Frankie (Chloë Grace Moretz) makes her way over to Greta’s house. Greta expresses her thanks to Frankie and informs her how wonderful it is to receive visitors since the passing of her husband. As Greta states, “Everyone needs a friend.” Frankie emphathizes with Greta and volunteers to be her friend.

The friendship starts out nicely—an outing here and there, tea at the house. But then things change… and not for the better. Greta begins texting Frankie—non stop and at various times. She also begins stalking Frankie at various times of day. Frankie explains to Greta how uncomfortable this makes her and decides that it is best to end the friendship before things become dangerous. That doesn’t bode well.

I guess, in this case, a good deed never goes UNPUNISHED.

I’ve begun to notice a new trend in the Hollywood industry. More and more films, particularly those in the horror and thriller genre, are being based on completely realistic situations. It’s a new level of horror that, in my opinion, works as. As I’ve stated in the past, many horror/suspense/thriller films have become incredibly clichéd in their plots, settings and characters. Perhaps we are seeing a change to horror/thriller/suspense genres for the better. Then again… maybe not.

What has made horror films separate from other films is that, realistically, these so-called “horror” events are improbable and down-right silly. For me that is why, against what is probably better judgment, I continue to go to horror movies, for the unrealistic, but completely expected thrill of the occasional scare.

“Greta” is designed in the more “realistic horror” genre. This is dangerous ground to tread. Stalking is not a joke. It’s not something to be taken lightly, and those who are stalked are scarred from it; many live in constant fear.

That frightening reality is what makes a film like “Greta” dangerous for viewing. If a fear of stalking isn’t instilled already, it might be after this film. Of course, the movie has strong filmmaking qualities: relatively strong character development, strong chemistry between Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert. All of that is wonderful, apart from the graphic violence (mainly toward the end of the film) and the really unnecessary use of foul language. Sadly, the content pushes the film way beyond the comfort level, even for a seasoned reviewer such as myself. Speaking of which…

Content of Concern

Violence: Very Heavy. There is a extremely graphic, yet brief, severing of a finger with accompanying blood displayed. A character stabs a couple characters with a syringe. One character uses a gun, and we witness gunshots—and an off-screen murder by gun. Characters are hit and knocked unconscious. There is an apparent poisoning of a pet (we see the pet’s dead body). A character is murdered. Greta stalks Frankie multiple times. A person is drugged. A kidnapped woman is tied to a bed and other objects. She is also kept in a box and a locked room. A woman spits gum into a woman’s hair.

Profane Language, including: “J*sus Christ” (2), “J*sus,” “G*d-d*mn” (4), “Oh my G*d” (7), “G*d,” (6)—including “G*d, this is such bullsh*t,” “H*ll” (2)

Vulgar/Crude Language: • a** (2), including “Shoot asparagus juice up your a**” • s-words (2) • “cr*p” • “cr*ppy” • “b*tch” (2)

Nudity: Mild—A couple characters wear cleavage bearing outfits. Frankie’s roommate, Erica, wears a see-through outfit showing her bra and panties.

Sex: A sexual comment is made.

Morals

In “Greta,” as I stated, many would see an abandoned handbag and claim it for themselves. In fact, friend Erica urges Frankie, “let’s grab this woman’s cash and have ourselves a spa day on her.” Frankie, though, taking the moral high ground, strongly advises against this. In returning the handbag, she befriends Greta. The Bible states our role as Christians when it comes to friendship, especially with those who are widowed, and how this aligns with our calling to be more like Christ:

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. —James 1:27

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” —Isaiah 1:17

Visiting the sick, the orphaned and the widowed is the embodiment of Christian love and service to Christ:

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.” —Isaiah 58:10

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” —Psalm 82:3-4

Closing Thoughts

Horror and suspense films are starting to produce true horror and true suspense. Is this a good thing? Well, that’s up to you to decide. Honestly, I think this reinvents the genre, but it also opens doors to topics and subjects that perhaps should be left alone.

About feeding our minds with fearful things

Do not feed your fears and worries; overcome them with wisdom, integrity and trust in God’s promised help for His committed children.

God’s followers are told numerous times in Scripture to “fear not” and “do not be afraid.” The only one that all should truly fear is God; fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and righteousness.

Other ongoing fears are unhealthy and frequently lead to sin—in thoughts and actions. Our Enemy often uses our fears and worrisome negative thinking to manipulate us, and make us ineffective in Christ’s service—or worse.

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

“Greta” is one of those films. Disturbing at times and hammered, particularly at the end, with violence and the unnecessary use of profanity, “Greta” is a film that I really don’t recommend to any Christian. Remember:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” —Philippians 4:8-9 NIV

  • Violence: Very Heavy
  • Profane language: Moderately Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Mild to Moderate
  • Nudity: Mild
  • Sex: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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Secular Movie Critics
…Despite the buildup of these horror expectations, there is no predicting how deliciously enjoyable it is to witness the macabre dance performed by Moretz and Huppert, two of the best actresses working in today’s movies. They play their game of cat and mouse with claws out; by the end of the berserko film, their characters are practically swinging from the rafters. Everyone appears to be having a grand time in Greta, and it would be crass for us as viewers to not respond similarly. …
Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle
…Despite the first-rate production values and the game performances from the cast, “Greta” can’t escape from the formulaic screenplay that dogs it at every turn. It’s almost as if it’s being stalked by mediocrity itself. …
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
…While it sometimes feels as if it’s just not enough fun, once you get to the twin switcheroos and then the insane ending, you have little choice but to buy into horror-audience protocol and embrace it for the bloody hoot it is. …
Steve Pond, The Wrap
…a sleek, derivative psychological thriller… the movie is thin, rote and silly but, Huppert being Huppert, it’s good for a diabolical chuckle or two…
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
…It’s a nail-biter that sends ice down the spine and proves that in the hands of a master director, any genre is capable of achieving new heights of imagination. …
Rex Reed, The New York Observer
…an inept tale of danger, entrapment and dismemberment. …a horror flick made by people who forgot to have fun. …
Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
…Disturbance eventually gives way to derangement in a story that grows exponentially more irritating the more preposterous it gets. …
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
…It's a jumbled mess, to put it mildly. …
Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
…swill…
David Edelstein, Vulture, New York Magazine
…“Greta” is not just silly but obvious, and without any hint of a larger purpose, beyond hitting the various plot points of the human monster genre. Twenty minutes before the finish, it degenerates into a joke, and not a good one…
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle