According to Greta
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Duff's take on a suicidal wild child is bland, forgettable.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Despite Greta's insistence that no one would miss her if she dies, and that her mom would be better off, this movie goes a long way to show that suicide always affects those left behind to mourn the dead. Another clear message is that grandchildren and grandparents could have meaningful, deep relationships if given enough time to interact and get to know each other.
Positive Role Models
For the majority of the movie, Greta is disrespectful, obnoxious, and selfish. She's petty, loud, and occasionally cruel to strangers and people who care about her. She's incredibly casual about her suicide plans, as if no one should really be bothered by her decision.
Violence & Scariness
It's not violent, per se, but Greta casually mentions her intention to commit suicide. Police officers grab Julie and handcuff him on suspicion of breaking and entering, even though Greta invited him up to her room. In one scene, Greta walks through a dangerous neighborhood, where she witnesses two men getting into a fist fight.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Greta and her boyfriend Julie kiss and make out a couple of times. She propositions him and asks him to get protection, but he refuses and says it's not the right time. Greta walks in on her grandparents, but nothing is shown except their surprised faces.
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Aside from a few mild insults "stupid," "idiot," "crazy," and the like, the words "s--t" and "bulls--t" are the worst of it.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults often drink with dinner at the restaurant.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this straight-to-DVD teen drama deals with some mature themes, such as suicide and strained mother-daughter relationships. Although the movie could be used as a good conversation opener about teen suicide, the protagonist, Greta, is not a positive role model. She's unapologetic, rude, selfish, and bratty, not to mention upfront about her plans to commit suicide. The language is pretty mild for a PG-13 movie, with the occasional "s--t" being the strongest word used. Greta and her boyfriend make out, but for once the guy stops the physical relationship from taking the next step. The importance of strong relationships between grandparents and grandchildren is a major theme, so families looking for multi-generational casts may find that aspect of the movie compelling.
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Where to Watch
Based on 5 parent reviews
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good for families
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What's the Story?
Greta (Hilary Duff) is a rebellious, openly suicidal teenager forced to spend the summer with her grandparents Katherine (Ellen Burstyn) and Joseph (Michael Murphy) in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, a quaint beach town full of old Victorian homes and even older residents. Never apart from her journal, Greta keeps a bucket list of sorts, except they're all things she'd like to accomplish (get in a fistfight, lose her virginity) before she kills herself. After Greta talks her way into a gig as a waitress at a local seafood restaurant, she falls for a sweet-but-edgy chef's assistant Julie (Evan Ross). As they grow closer, Greta believes Julie is the perfect guy to take home to her grandparents, especially because he's African American and a reformed ex-con. Much to Greta's dismay, the earnest Julie wins over her grandparents, who know he's more together and ambitious (he wants to eventually open a restaurant) than their impetuous granddaughter. Once Greta admits she wants to commit suicide, Julie does his best to dissuade her and even informs her frustrated grandparents about her disturbing plan. Will Greta find the will to live?
Is It Any Good?
Duff is by far the weakest link in this cast, and since she's the titular character, the movie ultimately falls flat. It's pretty disturbing when as a viewer you don't really care whether the protagonist offs herself or not; Greta is so unlikable and annoying that despite all of her narrated journal musings, she's so blase about suicide that you never once truly imagine her doing it. As Julie, Ross delivers a solid performance as the story's voice of reason, explaining to Greta that usually people who truly want to commit suicide just do it without necessarily informing everyone they know about their plans. Grandparents Burstyn and Murphy are such good actors, a much preferable movie would've switched the focus on their playful, still-passionate marriage as they deal with their off-putting, melodramatic granddaughter.
Melissa Leo cameos as Greta's mother, making it even more obvious how ACCORDING TO GRETA is like an unnecessary sequel to Georgia Rule (wild-child granddaughter -- check; stern but loving grandparents played by Academy Award winners -- check; well-heeled mother with husband troubles -- check). By the time the highly predictable, family-wide confrontation about Greta's dead father, her faux-suicidal tendencies, and her desperate need for structure and stability rolls around, it's hard not to imagine which former teen-star will tackle this exact role next. Amanda Bynes, don't do it!
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about suicide, in particular how Greta's father's death obviously impacted her own suicidal plans. What do you think about Greta's casual attitude about suicide? How does her attitude differ from Julie's, whose best friend did commit suicide?
How is Greta and Julie's romantic relationship depicted? Is it unbelievable that a guy would not accept his girlfriend's advances? What are the compelling reasons Julie refuses to have sex with Greta in that scene in her room?
Greta's grandparents ultimately help her in a way that her mom doesn't. How is the grandparent-grandchild relationship depicted?
- In theaters: December 11, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: January 19, 2010
- Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Evan Ross, Hilary Duff
- Director: Nancy Bardawil
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic material, some sexual content and drug references
- Last updated: April 4, 2023
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