Directed By: Nancy Bardawil
Starring: Hilary Duff, Evan Ross, Melissa Leo
I have been referred to as a teenaged girl on multiple occasions but since I actually am not one I will never understand the dynamic between mothers and daughters. According To Greta tries to explore this dynamic to varying effect.
Greta (Hilary Duff) is a seventeen year old girl who is going to stay with her grandparents for the summer because her mother is trying to save her marriage. Her grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) is skeptical at best but still accepts Greta into the house. Upon her arrival Greta inform the family that she plans to commit suicide when she turns eighteen and we learn she has a “to do” list to complete before she offs herself. What happens over the next ninety minutes is a jumbled mess with a few spectacular moments thrown in.
Where to begin with this one? I think Hilary Duff is a good actor she just seems to keep picking bad movies or at least movies that don’t let her stretch. According To Greta gives her a little room but ultimately draws her back in to just another teen drama. Apparently she liked this script so much that she executively produced the movie. And as far as acting goes everyone is good. None of the actors are dialing it in or playing it for laughs.
This movie does have a few things working in its favor. The music cues are great. I really like the use of music and the cinematography is spectacular at moments. When everything is clicking this movie has some depth. I also really like the animations that are used between scenes. They are quirky and fun and really add to the feel of the Jersey shore. The problems come from the story itself. Honestly, there isn’t much of one and it is paint by numbers storytelling. The end result is another coming of age story and a young girl finding herself in a strange world.
I didn’t feel like I wasted my time on this movie so much as I felt this movie wasted its talent. Ellen Burstyn, Michael Murphy and Hilary Duff all give good performances but there just isn’t anything to work with. I’m not sure what the draw of the teen drama is to Hollywood as they keep going back to the genre but after so many years of doing these kinds of movies one would think they would bring something new. As it stands we get According To Greta and another promising career has stalled out.
There is nothing spectacular about the video. It is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 1.85:1 ratio. It looks good enough for a low budget film. Detail is good enough most of the time and grain is minimal.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound gets the job done but it’s a typical lower budget release. Most of the film comes through the center channel. Dialogue, score, and sound effects are clean and well mixed.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The packaging is a standard clamshell with a slip cover; nothing spectacular in the slightest.
GRETA: Behind the Scenes does give a little insight in the film (apparently the script was written in 1992) and some great interviews with the actors. Also there are some great location shots that really show the charm of Grove Shore, NJ.
There are also some deleted scenes and an alternate ending that reminds us why the original ending was put in.
This is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It is not the best movie I’ve ever seen. It’s just average and I was hoping for more. Hilary Duff really needs her own Mean Girls type of breakout role. Keeping my fingers crossed for her….
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10
The Movie 5/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10