Greta (2018 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Neil Jordan|
|Story by||Ray Wright|
|Music by||Javier Navarrete|
|Edited by||Nick Emerson|
|Distributed by||Focus Features|
|Box office||$15.5 million|
Greta is a 2018 psychological thriller film directed by Neil Jordan and co-written by Ray Wright and Jordan. The film stars Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, and Stephen Rea, and follows a young woman as she befriends a lonely widow who becomes disturbingly obsessed with her.
Greta held its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 6 September 2018. It was theatrically released on 1 March 2019 in the United States, by Focus Features. The film has grossed over $15.5 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics.
Frances McCullen is a young American waitress living in New York City with her friend and roommate, Erica Penn. Frances has recently lost her mother to cancer, and maintains a strained relationship with her workaholic father, Chris.
Frances finds a fashionable handbag seemingly forgotten on a subway train. The name and address inside identifies it as belonging to a Greta Hideg. Frances returns the handbag to Greta. Over coffee, Greta tells Frances she is a widow, born and raised in France, whose daughter is studying in Paris. She says she is a piano teacher who gives her students private lessons. Frances begins to spend time with Greta to keep her company, over Erica's objections that the relationship is unnatural. One night while at Greta's house preparing dinner, Frances finds handbags identical to the one she found on the subway. On the bags are names and phone numbers, including that of Frances. Disturbed, she decides to cut ties with Greta.
Soon after, Greta begins to stalk Frances, texting and calling her repeatedly. Sometimes Greta stands outside the restaurant where Frances works. When Frances reports it to the police she is told nothing can be done. Greta stalks Erica too, one night sending Frances pictures of Erica, most of them taken from behind, when Erica is enjoying herself in a bar. Alerted to what's going on and advised to leave the scene, the frantic Erica sees Greta on the same bus she has sought refuge on, and screams at her. Eventually, after Greta shows up at Frances and Erica's apartment, Frances flat out tells Greta not to harass them. Greta later shows up at Frances' workplace, insulting her and causing a scene, resulting in Frances getting fired. Frances and Erica pursue a restraining order, but are told it could take months to get a hearing.
Erica tells Chris about Greta, and Chris tells Frances to cut Greta out of her life. Meanwhile, Frances finds out that Greta's daughter had actually taken her own life and had never been to France. Frances is torn between going away with her father or leaving the country on vacation with Erica, but she does not want to have to leave because of Greta's behavior. Erica suggests lying to Greta and saying she is leaving to address her own issues, which Frances does. When they meet, Greta, increasingly deranged, lovingly tells Frances that she will be her mother.
The next day, Frances is kidnapped by Greta and brought to Greta's home, where she is locked in a large wooden chest in a secret room. Greta uses Frances' phone to text Erica and Chris to fool each of them that Frances is with the other. When Frances is released from the chest and allowed to move about freely in the room the box is in, she finds articles of clothing and IDs of other young women.
Erica and Chris eventually get together and learn that Frances is not with either of them. In the interim, and while they search for her, Frances has been kept with Greta for an indeterminate amount of time, forced to learn Hungarian and how to play piano. During a cooking lesson, Frances strikes at Greta, cutting off her finger and then knocking her unconscious. Frances tries to escape, but all the doors and windows to outside are sealed off. Frances runs into the basement, but while searching for an exit finds one of Greta's previous victims in a body bag. Greta, recovered, sneaks up behind Frances and wraps a bag around her head until she passes out.
Chris hires Brian Cody, a private investigator, to find Frances and investigate Greta. Cody learns that Greta was a nurse, from Hungary rather than France, who had been let go for abusing sleeping medication. Cody meets with Greta in her home. Frances, gagged and bound to a bed, attempts to get his attention by thrashing her body and shaking the bed. Greta blocks out the noise with music, but, when Greta is out of the room, Cody figures out there is a secret chamber behind the piano. Greta comes up behind him and plunges a syringe into his neck. Before he loses consciousness he takes out his gun and fires at Greta, but his shots miss, and when he collapses she shoots him dead with his own gun.
An indeterminate amount of time passes. Greta leaves another handbag on the subway for another unsuspecting victim. A woman brings the handbag to Greta's home and is allowed inside. Frances, again bound and gagged on the bed, attempts to get the woman's attention to warn her, but is unsuccessful. Greta and the woman, who is only shown from behind, have coffee. After Greta drinks her cup, she feels faint. The woman takes off her wig and reveals herself to be Erica, who has drugged Greta. She mocks Greta and tells her she has been searching for the handbag on the subway for a long time. Greta passes out, and Erica finds and releases Frances. Greta, regaining consciousness, emerges from the shadows, grabs Frances before passing out again. Erica and Frances place Greta's unconscious body in the chest and leave, using a small metal statue of the Eiffel Tower to lock it shut. However, after they leave the room to get some air, Greta begins to rattle the lid of the chest, starting to shake the statue loose.
- Isabelle Huppert as Greta Hideg, an obsessive piano teacher and former nurse.
- Chloë Grace Moretz as Frances McCullen, a young waitress.
- Maika Monroe as Erica Penn, a friend and roommate of Frances.
- Colm Feore as Chris McCullen, Frances' workaholic father.
- Stephen Rea as Brian Cody, a private investigator.
- Zawe Ashton as Alexa Hammond
- Graeme Thomas King as Brian
- Parker Sawyers as Gary
- Jeff Hiller as Henri
- Emer Gibbons as woman at bar
In May 2017, it was announced that Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz had signed to star in the film, then titled The Widow. In August 2017, Maika Monroe joined the cast. In September 2017, Stephen Rea, Colm Feore, and Zawe Ashton were added as well.
The film was produced by Metropolitan Films in cooperation with Lawrence Bender Films, Little Wave Productions and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. It also received an €650,000 production grant from the Irish Film Board.
The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 6 September 2018. Shortly after, Focus Features acquired distribution rights to the film for $4 million, though some sources believed the number was as high as $6 million. It was theatrically released on 1 March 2019 in the United States.
In the United States and Canada, Greta was released alongside A Madea Family Funeral, and was projected to gross around $6 million from 2,000 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $1.6 million on its first day, including $350,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $4.6 million, finishing eighth at the box office.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 60%, based on 236 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A bonkers B movie that's occasionally elevated by its A-list talent, Greta dives headlong into camp and struggles to stay afloat." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 2 out of 5 stars and a 34% "definite recommend".
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