26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2009
Just saw this film at its Santa Monica, California, premiere. It is truly a shame that the movie is not being distributed in theatres and instead is going direct to DVD & Blu-Ray. I hope the DVD contains some extras, especially a commentary, all of which were sadly lacking on the DVDs for Hilary Duff's earlier small, independent films of "War, Inc." and "What Goes Up."
For those who have doubted Hilary Duff's dramatic talent up until now, "According to Greta" should put those fears to rest. Duff turns in an unquestionably strong performance of a complicated character that will come as a surprise to those primarily familiar with her more tween/teen-oriented work such as the "Lizzie McGuire" TV series, "A Cinderella Story," and the "Cheaper by the Dozen" films. What the audience has borne witness to here is her genuine maturity as an actress and the possible paradigm shift in her career to more serious dramatic fare in the future.
Duff plays the title character of Greta, a 17 year old girl who has been "exiled" to her grandparents' home in New Jersey for the summer, given her mother's own inability to control her daughter and preference for saving her troubled marriage. Greta has decided to end her life once she turns 18, currently reflecting upon which method of death would be most desirable. Simultaneously, she has created a "bucket list" of sorts of things to experience in the final year of her life. The news of Greta's plans come as a surprise to her grandparents, especially her grandmother, played by veteran actress Ellen Burstyn. The Golden Globe- and Oscar-nominated Burstyn turns in a fine performance as Greta's "Grammy" Katherine, who is determined to give her granddaughter structure and discipline, and perhaps even aide in finding value in life.
Another surprise performance is given by actor Evan Ross, who plays Julie, a restaurant line cook with a shady past, who is committed to living as responsible and ethical a life as possible. Next to Duff's substantive performance, Ross' own poised and balanced performance will likely be a highlight of the film for viewers. In the movie, Greta and Julie become co-workers and eventually strike up a romance, one that comes off naturally, even in scenes of interpersonal character unease. But Greta's hardened attitude about life, her sharp hurtful words, and manipulative actions towards Julie, as well as her grandparents, threaten to drive those closest to Greta away, even as they all labor to help her see life's gifts.
Standing behind inter-relational tensions, is a haunting secret from the past. Will the recognition of this painful experience finally push Greta to take her life? Or can her grandparents and Julie -- or more pointedly, can she herself -- help transform her great pains into a realization for the sanctity of life? Check out the movie and find out for yourself.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This movie review is part of my obligation to Amazon for accepting to be a member of the Vine program, a club of selected customers that provide opinions about "new and pre-released items." We enter this club by accepting free copies of products but we promise in return to submit an opinion.
Greta is a welcome addition to our movie collection. The plot reveals a young woman who is growing up right before our very eyes, going from a teenager filled with anger and issues of abandonment, to a rebellious girl sent to spend a summer with her grandparents, to a young woman attempting to become independent through a job, where she meets a young man that has had very difficult times and clashes with what he perceives as a person who "could be lots of fun, passionate, but who could get him into trouble again."
The movie started slow, one has to ponder as to where the movie is taking us and soon we find ourselves in the middle of a powerful story of transformation.
Hillary Duff's performance as this 17 year old who is overcoming parental abandonment issues while she figures out who she is and who she wants to be is magnificent. The grandparents, played by Ellen Burstyn and Michael Murphy are pivotal to her growth, presenting the generational friction necessary for Greta to create a vision for the future.
Without attempting to give the plot away, if you enjoy transformational movies that reveal key elements of personal growth, then this movie is excellent. If you have teenagers in your family, share the experience for them to gain from the lessons learned from this rather dysfunctional family.
Don't miss it!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2010
This movie is, without question, the best movie that Hilary Duff has ever starred in. She was brilliant in this film and I have waited 2 years for this movie to come out! I watched it online and I plan on buying it when it is released on DVD & Blu-ray. Hilary Duff really expanded her ability towards acting. I love how the director put Evan Ross as her love interest for the film because these two went perfect together! I especially loved the mature make-out scenes that was shown, especially the bedroom one. Hilary Duff is a fantastic actress and the cast for this movie was put together wonderfully. I simply cannot wait for the DVD to come out and I wished that I could have saw this movie in theaters but I do not think it is going to be released (since producers are always changing the release date). I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Even though this is an old storyline, teen angst with thoughts of suicide, this movie's characters made the story fresh. Hilary Duff gives a realistic performance as the title character, a 17-year-old who's trying to figure out who she wants to be in the midst of a troubled, broken family. Her mother seems to care only about her current relationship, and her father killed himself when she was very young. Greta's mother ships her off to stay with her Gram (wonderfully played by the talented Ellen Burstyn) and Gramps (an enigmatic Michael Murphy) in the small town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, for the summer. Greta views her stay as 'an imprisonment' and sets out to be a total bad girl, but does find some redeeming moments as the movie progresses.
In her journal which she keeps with her at all times, Greta keeps two lists: one of things she wants to do before she dies and one of suicide methods. Greta's grandparents both try to help her, but really don't know how to deal with a depressed teenager. Greta meets Julie, a black teenager who was once in juvenile detention is now a short-order cook with dreams of becoming a chef, and the two begin the age old dance of romance. Just when we think that Greta's relationship with Julie has helped her to mature, the bottom falls out. This movie successfully touches on teen suicide in a way that captures the emotional struggle involved in growing up and learning to respect and love yourself. Watch this movie with a teen in your life.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Hillary Duff is outstanding as Greta,who is sent by her mother to spend the summer at the Jersey Shore with her grandparents (played by Michael Murphy & Ellen Burstyn)and this girl is NOT a pleasure to be around.
The scenery of the wonderful town is beautifully shot and the soundtrack is very engaging,making for good movie experience. I really enjoyed the nice animated scenes of Greta's journal writings that bumper many of the sections of her summer experience.
This is a good version of a movie that has been made many times before (like Rebel Without a Cause and many others)about growing up and learning what life is really about and this outstanding cast really delivers.
Besides the always outstanding Murphy & Burstyn,I want to mention a great performance by Even Ross,who plays the different race tough kid that has been played in other movies without the skill and tenderness displayed by Ross in an engaging turn that makes you like and respect the kid in the film.
The DVD comes with a making of documentary that's quite interesting as well as some deleted & alternate scenes and an unused different ending.
Overall I enjoyed the film and I wanted to watch all the extras,which doesn't happen with me on most movies.
I wanted to see this movie because Hillary Duff seems to be in good quality pictures and I'm glad I did!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2011
I literally JUST finished watching this movie. The credits are rolling.
I had to write the review as soon as possible.
I see that on here, ACCORDING TO GRETA has some negative reviews. Quite a few, in fact. From what I've seen (because I wanted to do my homework), most of the issues are that the character is too dark or because this movie isn't very good for our kids. Some say Hilary is too old for the part, and some say the character herself is very unrealistic. Finally, some say that the acting wasn't very good. Listen to my take on this.
AN OVERVIEW: Greta is a troubled seventeen-year-old who is sent by her mother to live with her grandparents because her attitude is affecting her mother's marriage. She has a notebook she carries around everywhere which is basically a bucket list of things to do before she kills herself (This is revealed in the first five minutes of the movie and is not a spoiler). Then she meets a guy (and listen to me when I say that the guy isn't even the point... this is not a boy meets girl love story; in fact, he's only used as a tool to bring some messages and revelations across). I won't say anything else.
THE ACTING: I have to clarify this very instant that I started this movie with an open mind, which is how it is supposed to be watched. Let me make it clear that Hilary Duff's acting is good. There are no 'but's. I find the people who claim that it was poor representation or that the character herself is unrealistic, mistaken, as GRETA reminded me of a friend of mine who is very similar to her (although not suicidal). Hilary portrayed the character VERY well, and I did not think she looked too old to be seventeen, as I am seventeen myself and can say this confidently. Be patient with the movie (not that it required much of it from me), and you will find that the acting is actually more realistic than in most movies, which is why it comes across as unique. Hilary reminded me a little of Kristen Stewart from 'Welcome to the Rileys', although GRETA was released before that. Which actress is better? That is up to you to decide.
And speaking of 'Welcome to the Rileys', Melissa Leo is also in this movie.
THE POINT: ACCORDING TO GRETA should be one of those movies that every single teenager in the world must see, as it has lots of morals in it, and does not at all come across as trying hard to show them. Not in the slightest, actually. This is NOT a chick flick. This is NOT a love story. This is a movie about growing up and should be treated as a mature movie. FORGET about any other movies any of the actors have done; treat this movie as something different from the moment you pop it in. I guarantee you will enjoy it.
AUDIENCE: Who this movie is for? O.K., this is VERY IMPORTANT: The movie is rated PG-13. I, however, would advise that the movie should not be shown to anyone below the age of 15. Because just when you think you can keep up with the tone it has set, you find out some VERY dark and VERY deep and disturbing stories. I Loved it because it gave the movie maturity that flowed easily and made it look nonchalant.
ACCORDING TO GRETA really is something special, and I honestly can't wait until I share it with my friends. And I'm a guy. That's saying something.
Five stars. There is nothing I would change. There are a lot of deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and a Behind-The-Scenes featurette, so enjoy.
Take my word for it, people: It's great. Just approach it with an open mind.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2010
I should probably start off by saying that I am a HUGE Hilary Duff fan but I also like to think of myself as a person who is really good at giving unbiased opinions. I understand that movie critics do not think very highly of Hilary and I can understand that since the movies she has done have kept her in the "tween category" (even though I really like those movies because they make me happy). "According to Greta" is one of the many slew of movies that Hilary has been a part of lately to help move her more in a direction of a young adult actress (others including "War Inc.," "What Goes Up," and her guest appearance on "Gossip Girl") and this is by far her best acting display. She is very believable as the rebellious, super sarcastic and suicidal teenager forced to stay with her grandparents for the summer. I have to say that I also enjoyed all of the side characters just as much in this film. Her grandmother, grandfather and boy interest were well played and allowed the film to seem very real.
It is unfortunate that it took SO long for this movie to come out (I believe filming finished in late 2007) and when it came out in theaters it was only in L.A. For this reason I encourage everyone to buy or rent this because it truly is a great film. It is an indie, low budget film but it is still very enjoyable. I'm very happy for Hilary, she is still young and can still go far places with her acting career. I wouldn't say this is her big break but it is definitely a huge leap in the right direction for her.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2010
Somewhere between the screenplay and Ms. Duff's performance in the first half of the movie, the power of this film is almost undermined. Miss Duff, as Executive Producer, clearly found the story appealing. However, it takes a closer look to fully appreciate the winning qualities of this endeavor. Miss Duff seems unclear how to embrace the role. Should she portray the character's youthful recklessness as a reflection of what her audience would expect? Or will she allow the role to provide her with the bridge she seems to be searching for from teen idol to serious actress?. The script is slow to reveal where the movie's gravitas lies. That is part of its problem because the writer (s) are not completely comfortable in taking a bold leap with the story. That cautiousness places the movie just right above a "movie of the week" television fare. The addition of Ms. Burstyn and Ms. Leo also gives the movie breeding.
While this movie was built around Hillary Duff, the bright, sparkling career of Evan Ross continues to shine through. In his first semi-romantic lead, Evan's character, Julie, is mature, remorseful and loving. Ms. Duff may have thought that this "bad girl" role would be an opportunity for her to stretch and move into more adult roles. Instead, she comes off looking like a spoiled, undeserving brat. In one of the first more arresting scenes, when she callously reveals how Julie (Evan Ross) learned to cook, it is Evan Ross that pulls the scene up and gives Ms. Duff's "Greta" more substance to play off of. The Academy Award winning actress, Ellen Burstyn, seems a little uncomfortable in the role of her grandmother. Perhaps that is intentional. The affection shared between her and her husband, as seniors still capable of loving, is unique in cinema today.
Evan Ross has an impressive resume of films (25) in some stage of development/production. He has such an ease on camera that it is rather mundane to state, but he looks like a natural on screen. Here he gets to emote in a different way than his previous other (6) roles. His youthfulness limits the types of roles that he gets to play so to see him show another side of a teen developing into a young man, is refreshing.
In only a manner of time, there is undoubtedly a full starring role for him waiting in the wings. He has taken on some solid supporting roles in his previous works ("Life Support", "Gardens of the Night", "Pride", "ATL", etc.). He is now clearly ready for the camera to focus solely on his amazing talents.
He literally steals the show in this affecting role. The movie could have taken the traditional path but it makes an effective, if not, startling progression. His eyes are those classic "Ross" eyes and he clearly has inherited his mother's natural abilities on screen.
He is just a moment away from that break through role. "ATL" is in constant replay on BET and TVONE. "Life Support" has gotten a strong amount of airplay on HBO. So his face is becoming more and more familiar.......out of all the movies on his slate, that breakthrough role is sitting, waiting to be enjoyed by his building fan base and those ready to discover an amazing new talent, one, Mr. Evan Olaf Ross-Naess.
Thanks to the appearances and performances from Ellen Burstyn, Melissa Leo and Mr. Ross, the movie earns another viewing. Though it never got a full theatrical run, it deserves a closer look as a rental, if only to watch the fascinating development of Evan Ross.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
There are plenty of problem-child films. I had low expectations -- that we would get the usual check list of problems, causes and events. Slam them in and crank out a movie. I do not know Hilary Duff's work; I have heard the name. I can say she has done a convincing job. I can assert that the casting in general is strong.
Gretta the troubled child is put on a bus by her mother because mom is trying to stop her current husband from exiting. Gretta is an annoyance, and bloody adept at it. She is going to Ocean Grove, New Jersey, an idyllic ocean-front resort where Gretta's grandparents have lived since mom was a brat. Ocean Grove is one of the beautifully built ocean fronts in the world. Large houses where porches and upper story balconies are prized far above a lawn, to gaze on the Atlantic and breathe oh so well.
The central theme is teen suicide. There are others. The songs are a dead, so to speak, give away, The opening "I Wanna Die" might trigger the theme, but of course it is a lovely song about wishing to die in Louisiana, rather than, say, Burma. The sound track in general is thoughtfully chosen and effective in this well executed not in-your-face mode. Nice touch with this song. Another is a classic 50's summer seaside song, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" by heart throb Frankie Avalon.
I like how the grandmother (Ellen Burstyn is better than in so many anguish-only roles), and grandfather are fully developed characters. Evan Ross is superb as the romantic interest and, more importantly, the foil to Gretta's background. He almost steals the show, but I am happy with both. We will be seeing more of him.
With all of the story, there is still a little to see of careful film making. In Grandfather's marina, do not miss the long shot of the dog paddling among the slips; he fetches what otherwise looks like merely another floating board. Nice touch, this. Next you will see his project: restoring a mahogany cabin cruiser. These are the glories of our 1890-1940 boat industry. This boat deserves to be the platform of the movie's climax.
All themes are intelligently expressed, especially the hard ones. I have only one nagging question, which is "Who am the guy in the photo at the very end?" I know his face and I am having a brain-out. Lastly, the movie has the good grace to close with an Oscar Wilde quote.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Well, Hillary Duff is the star and even producer of this small independent film shot on location in Ocean Grove and Asbury Park, New Jersey. They are both shore towns and she plays suicidal teen who is sent by her mother played by Melissa Leo to her maternal grandparents, Joseph and Katherine in Ocean Grove, a predominantly retirement community. Her grandparents are played by Michael Murphy and the wonderful Ellen Burstyn. She intends to but heads. She lives in a house where there is no cable and dial-up internet access. As for the movie, it's a coming of age story set on the Jersey Shore and I don't recognize Hilary Duff in her role as Greta. She does a brilliant job.
I am saddened to know that this film wasn't even distributed widely enough. Maybe HBO should express interest in showing this film. It has a good script, solid cast, and is memorable. It has a PG-13 rating, no profanity, and one kissing scene between Greta and her male love interest, a line cook at a seafood restaurant with an interesting past.
I live in New Jersey so I enjoyed watching the locales. The extra footage showed the cast and crew being warmly received in the communities where they shot the film. It's nice to know that Hillary took the time to meet her fans and take pictures while she was on location. I would have liked to have seen more of Melissa Leo playing Greta's mom, Karen.
Since I got the widescreen version, the pictures comes in pretty clear. It's only when I go to the special features like the deleted scenes where I had some audio trouble.
The film is nice but a little dark. It's a shame that most people won't get the chance to view it in the theatres but I think cable would be more appropriate. It's a shame that good melodramas like According to Greta are mixed in with whole the garbage of films out there.
I know that Duff fans will probably rave over her performance as being dark and completely different from the norm in light-hearted comedies. I just hope the younger Duff fans are watching it with somebody older to explain some of the darkness around it.