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Greta Movie Review – Beware the Overly Friendly Stranger

Chloë Grace Moretz befriends a lonely woman, with awful results.

Reviewed by on Mar 01, 2019
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw Greta, a well-acted thriller that will teach you that being helpful to a stranger isn’t always the best idea. Read our movie review!

By: Lynn Barker

Young New Yorker Frances McCullen (Chloë Grace Moretz) finds a handbag left on the subway with an I.D. inside and returns it to older woman Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert). A sort of mom/daughter friendship results but when Frances finds a cabinet full of identical handbags with the names and phone numbers of various women on them, she freaks. What scam is Greta running? Finding out will not be pleasant for this young good Samaritan. (Warning: Greta is R-rated for some violence and disturbing images).

Frances finds the bag on the subwayFrances finds the bag on the subway

A Find on the Subway

Frances, a server at a posh New York restaurant, finds a purse left behind on the subway. Lost and Found is closed so she takes it home. Her roommate Erica (Maika Monroe) dumps it out, finds pills and a wad of money and says “just take it”. Being a more kindly person, Frances uses the I.D. inside and takes the purse back to the owner. Greta is a Frenchwoman who seems very grateful, kind and lonely. Since her mom recently died, Frances starts to think of Greta as a surrogate mom and they continue to see each other. Frances sees pictures of Greta’s late husband and daughter Nicola, supposed to be at music school in Paris.

Frances returns Greta's purseFrances returns Greta's purse

New Pet and Freaky Discovery

Frances goes with Greta to adopt a new dog whose name is Morton. He’s a scruffy old guy so Frances is further convinced that Greta is a kind woman. Greta phones Frances all the time and, since Frances turns down parties with people her own age, Erica tells her that Greta is not her mom and this is getting weird.

Erica tells Frances that Greta is dangerousErica tells Frances that Greta is dangerous

While making dinner at Greta’s one night, Frances finds a whole cabinet full of purses identical to the one she found. All have the name of a woman and a phone number on them. Frances realizes that Greta is weird and running some kind of sick scam.

Frances has found all the pursesFrances has found all the purses


Frances says she is ill and leaves. Greta keeps calling her. She won’t answer. Greta follows Frances, comes to her work etc. Finally Frances tells her she found the purses. Greta doesn’t explain. Frances kicks her out of her life. Greta sends flowers, indicates she might kill herself and stands across the street from Frances’s work, just staring in the window all day. Frances tells the police but standing around isn’t a crime. They can do nothing. Greta follows Frances home. Frances finally goes for a restraining order but is told it will take months to get one. Worried about Greta’s adopted dog, Frances goes to her house and after Greta leaves, taking the dog on a walk, she looks through an outdoor trashcan finding letters written to Greta’s daughter marked “return to sender” and with an address that is local…not Paris.

Frances hides while looking through the trash canFrances hides while looking through the trash can

Erica’s Ordeal

After speaking with her estranged dad (Colm Feore) on the phone, Frances is sent a photo on her phone by Greta. It is of Erica who is out at a party at a bar. Frances warns her that Greta is now stalking her and is right behind her taking more and more pictures. Frances takes a cab and manages to rescue Erica. Later, In a coffee shop, Frances meets with an old roomie of Nicola’s who reveals that Nicola killed herself after a lifetime of torture by her crazy mom. She was always talking about being put in “The Box”….whatever that is.

Erica is stalked by GretaErica is stalked by Greta

The Lie

After Greta throws a huge fit in Frances’s restaurant, she is taken away in a strait jacket but is released the next day. Frances decides to “make nice” with her. They meet and she apologizes to Greta, says she really does care about her and that she is going away briefly to get her head on straight but will see her after that. It seems to work but Frances really doesn’t leave town. Greta gets into her apartment and drugs her. She collapses. Greta takes her home with her in a cab and Greta locks her into a “box”, a large trunk in a secret room telling her “This is your bed of lies”. Can anyone find her? What tortures are in store for Frances?

Greta holds drugged Frances prisonerGreta holds drugged Frances prisoner

Wrapping Up

Not much is logical in Greta yet it is an entertaining thriller. Why leave a cabinet full of purses with the names of proposed victims on them where your current victim can easily find them? Why stay in your apartment where you can easily be seen going in and out when you’ve told your stalker you are “going away” etc. etc. 

Greta shows up at Frances's apartmentGreta shows up at Frances's apartment

None-the-less, it is the really good performances by the two lead actresses that sell the movie. Chloë, as Frances, shows convincing growing dread, tension then terror really well. Famous French actress Isabelle is just the right mix of cunning, creepy and downright looney!  Although the story goes off the rails a few times, you will probably be rooting for Chloë’s character and wondering what nightmares Greta will have in store next. Greta is creepy enough for us to rate a strong three stars. There is only one really violent image so the R-rating isn’t a strong one.

Greta Movie Rating: 3

Greta Movie Poster

See Greta in theaters now.

And What Do You Think?

Do you like thriller movies in which a truly “good” character pays for being kind? Are you a Chloë Grace Moretz fan? Would you return a bag left in the subway to an unknown person? Talk creepy thriller movies with a comment below and/or write your feelings on your Kidzworld profile page.