There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz) lost her mother a year ago and she is currently not speaking to her father. She is living in a New York City apartment with her best friend, Erica (Maika Monroe), but she still misses her mother dearly. Frances takes the subway to and from her job as a waitress at a nice restaurant, and one day she notices a purse that someone left behind on the subway. Frances tries returning it to the lost and found, but when they are closed, Frances decides to take the purse home.
Inside the purse was the license of an older woman named Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert). Despite every warning of how insane this is—from Erica—Frances decides to return the purse to the woman’s address. After meeting Greta, the two become close friends. One day, however, Frances discovered a closet in Greta’s home with a bunch of purses, all identical to the one Frances found on the subway. On the back of each purse was a sticky note that read a name and a phone number. To make things worse, one of the sticky notes read the name “Frances”. This all started when Frances tried to do a good deed for an old woman, but she discovered that something more sinister may be going on and that her act of kindness may have put herself in the middle of a nightmare.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
Suspension of Disbelief (-6pts)
The Outcome (+2pts)
Pro: Greta (+5pts)
Greta, and the actress playing her, were definitely the best parts of this movie. Greta was insane and Isabelle Huppert did a great job of dialing up the character’s intensity, creepiness, and kindness whenever the situation called for any of these things. Isabelle Huppert did a really good job of making all of the character’s different moods feel natural. This was what made the character feel so insane, because I never knew which version of Greta would be the one to react to any given situation.
I also enjoyed that the filmmakers never tried to explain why Greta was the way she was. This movie was far from an origin story. Instead, this movie began at the climax of Greta’s story, which just so happened to be the beginning of Frances’ story. The filmmakers just established Greta as being crazy and dangerous, and that was really all there was to it. We never learned where she came from or how she became like the way she was. She was just crazy, and this helped maintain a thick layer of mystery around the character.
Con: Suspension of Disbelief (-6pts)
If you choose to watch this movie, then know the filmmakers require you to suspend your disbelief for almost the entire story. If you start thinking about the plot of this movie—literally at all—you will notice that it was absolutely riddled with plot issues that all require you to just ignore if you want to enjoy the movie. Greta’s plan for luring in victims assumed that only really nice or really dumb people would find her bags. It assumed that no member of law enforcement would find her bags, it assumed no one would report the bags, it assumed the lost and found would be closed at the time that the bags were discovered, and it assumed whoever found the bags would decide to hand deliver them instead of just stealing its contents or mailing the bags to her. Individually, none of these would have been that big of a deal, but given that her plan required all of those assumptions to be correct meant that it turned into a pretty big plot hole. It made Greta come across as extremely dumb, yet somehow extremely lucky. The biggest example of the suspension of disbelief was the main character, but I will get into this later, as it was deserving of its own section in this review.
Con: Erica (+4pts)
I really did not like that I had to assume that the two main characters were dumb. Fortunately, there was one character who was the voice of reason throughout this whole movie. Erica was played well by Maika Monroe, and she was the character that thought what I was thinking, and who called Frances out on her constant bad decision making. She was the character that I related to, because she was seemingly the only character in this story with a brain.
I thought Maika Monroe did a good job in this movie, though after It Follows, I am not really surprised. Still, she did a good job with this character, and by the end of the movie, I was honestly rooting for Erica more than Frances. This had little to do with the actresses’ performances, and instead had everything to do with how the characters were depicted. I had strong issues with the main character, but Erica and Greta’s unpredictability were what kept me watching.
Con: Frances (-8pts)
Oh, this character was an idiot. Take nothing away from Chloe Grace Moretz, as I thought she did the best anyone could have done in the role, but the entire plot of this story rode on the fact that the main character was an absolute moron. For the sake of not being redundant, I am going to ignore all the dumb things the main character did that I already mentioned in my rant on the suspension of disbelief section—just know that she was the kind of dumb character that Greta’s plan was relying on. This movie had me wanting to yell things at Frances like: “What are you doing?”, “Use that as a weapon!”, ”Just break the window!”, and “Finish her off!”
My point is the character—through her own naivety—got herself in a bad situation. From there, she had countless opportunities to get herself out of that situation, but the filmmakers did not want that to happen. Rather than write Greta so that she outsmarted Frances’ every move, the writers took the lazy way out and just made Frances dumb. I mean Frances easily could have taken Greta in a fist fight, but never even attempted it. If she had missed one or two opportunities of escaping, I would have forgiven this and chalked it up to Frances just not thinking of something fast enough in the heat of the moment. However, when these opportunities were so blatant and so frequent, it felt unnatural for the character not to notice them, which shows how poorly written this character was.
Pro: The Outcome (+2pts)
I will keep this short to avoid spoilers, but I enjoyed the final outcome of this movie. I do not mean that I liked the specific way that it ended, but while the beginning of the movie was predictable in the sense that I knew Greta was crazy when Frances did not, I had a tough time predicting how the movie would end. I have seen a lot of movies, but this story was unique enough for me to be unable to guess what the final outcome of the story would be. I did not think that the ending was incredible, I just liked that I could not see what direction the story was heading in, which let me just sit back and enjoy the ride—to the extent that anyone could, given the poor writing.
Con: Slow (-4pts)
I thought the filmmakers focused a little too heavily on everything that took place before Frances discovered Greta’s secret. We knew from the trailers that this was a horror movie, and we knew that Greta was the antagonist. Unfortunately, I thought the filmmakers got a little too caught up with telling the events that took place before Frances’ not-so-shocking discovery. The problem with this was that we knew Greta was the antagonist. Nonetheless we were expected to sit there and watch Frances and Greta doing various mundane things together, while pretending that Greta was not going to turn out to be a psycho. We saw them cooking, having dinner, and doing various other non-exciting things. Knowing about Greta’s secret before Frances did made all of these scenes feel unimportant, but the filmmakers spent about thirty to forty minutes showing things that took place before the reveal, and it made the first half of the movie fairly boring.
Grade: D+ (68pts)
Greta seemed like a unique movie. A woman, with mysteriously sinister intentions, lures young women into a very bad situation. Greta was controlling and creepy throughout the entire movie and Isabelle Huppert was the primary reason why the character was so effective. Each of the main three actresses—Chloe Grace Moretz, Isabelle Huppert, and Maika Monroe—did a great job in this movie, but the characters they were playing were not necessarily as strong. I liked Maika Monroe’s character, but the other two definitely needed work.
Frances was a very dumb protagonist. This was one of those movies that will make audience members want to yell at the main character for being a complete moron. The reason for this was lazy writing, and it had the side effect of making Greta come across as more lucky than cunning. I liked the unique concept of the story, because it was hard to see where the story was heading, but the filmmakers spent way too much time showing what happened before Frances learned about Greta’s secret. The result was a movie where the first half of the story felt boring and unimportant. This movie had potential, but I thought the filmmakers executed this idea very poorly. That being said, I have seen plenty of people saying they liked the movie, so if you do end up seeing this one, I hope you like it more than I did.