We begin with an overtly romantic score, set back in the early 20th century, and are introduced to Chloë Grace Moretz's Frances McCullen serving as a waitress in an upper-class restaurant.

I know I began to wonder whether or not it was set in the present day – it is. Without getting to know much about Frances, other than that she lives with her friend, Erica (Maika Monroe) in an unrealistic, expensive and spacious loft overlooking Manhattan. We follow her as she hops on the subway where she finds a handbag, perfectly placed on the centre of a seat and immediately picks it up without asking if it is anyone’s. Even more conveniently, there are no staff at lost property and the address of the person the bag belongs to is written on a post-it. Fearlessly, she goes to return it to the woman known as Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert). An annoyingly obvious formula, but we’re excited to see what happens next.

Greta is an older, sweet and lonely French woman, who enjoys classical piano and a pot of tea. The pair form a relationship that sometimes verges on romantic. However, the robotic portrayal of a mother-daughter bond, limited by the lack of prior character development, is destroyed as Frances finds a cupboard full of replica handbags prepped for Greta’s next culprit.

From this point onwards, the film becomes farcical, but cleverly so.

Isabelle Huppert in Greta Credit: Widow Movie, LLC and Showbox

Isabelle Huppert in Greta  Credit: Widow Movie, LLC and Showbox

Frances’s attempts to avoid Greta from this point onwards falls flat as she is stalked by the older woman. The intense orchestral music emphasising each lacklustre stare from Greta across the road to the restaurant, all to then be downplayed by the lack of support from the police. Then she follows her friend, Erica, whilst she’s on a night out, snapping pictures along the way. 

The noose tightens and Greta is no longer keen to play nice, causing a scene at the restaurant at which Frances works until she is arrested, comically carried out in a straightjacket to only be released the following day and for things to dark an even darker turn. The performance from Moretz in pivotal scenes is strong and we as the audience feel for her despite her deplorable naivety throughout the beginning of the film.

Frances’s father (Colm Feore), who for some unclear reason has a difficult relationship with his daughter, hires a friend, Brian (Stephen Rea), to find her. This one attempt to locate the off the grid Frances was clearly added in to allow for the madness which was soon to follow.

The cinematography adds a glossy yet sinister feel to the story, allowing the audience to see action in the foreground but important subtle movements in the background, further emphasising the dynamic between the two leads.

Chloe Grace Moretz in Greta Credit: Widow Movie, LLC and Showbox

Chloe Grace Moretz in Greta Credit: Widow Movie, LLC and Showbox

At this point, we become lapped up in the sheer obscurity of behaviours exhibited by Greta, played superbly by Isabelle Huppert, which includes spitting gum into a more and more tormented Frances’s hair. The plot loses its way in a rabbit hole of dream awakening sequences until finally, we reach a climax to the game of cat and mouse. 

A vigorous score paired with strong visuals and performances marries up to the bold ideas implemented by director Neil Jordan. The film has reflections of the mother-daughter struggles from Brian De Palma’s Carrie, with Moretz ironically playing the lead in the 2013 remake. Enjoyable to say the least, but would benefit from further story and character development so we are not only relying on odd gags that come in the second half of the film.

Verdict: ★★★☆☆