I never though these words would come out of my mouth, but Hilary Duff has the potential to be a good dramatic actress. As the title character in According to Greta, Duff successfully portrays a troubled girl who is constantly looking for new and interesting ways to one day kill herself.
Shipped off to her grandparent’s house for the summer by her mother (Melissa Leo), Greta must find a way to co-exist in a place she doesn’t want to be. Greta’s attitude is a huge roadblock in her new home and in her relationship with her grandparents. Her grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) tries to reach out to her, but ends up only getting more frustrated and wanting to send her back to where she came from. Her grandfather (Michael Murphy) feels a deep affection for his granddaughter and believes that she just needs love and an opportunity to deal with why she is so sad.
Greta finds someone she can trust in Julie (Evan Ross), a young man who has seen his fair share of trouble. He believes in Greta, but a future may not be in the cards for the two if Greta has her way. After a misstep on Greta’s part, Julie says that he’s had enough and can’t be a party to the way she is living her life.
On the verge of being forced out of her grandparent’s home, Greta must find a way to get a grip on her emotions and grow up. When a visit from her mother takes her by surprise, Greta is torn between doing what her mother wants and taking the steps to moving on with her life in a positive way.
Duff shined in this role. She dyed her normally blonde hair, brown, and there were no lingering signs of the Lizzie Maguire of her past. This was Duff’s first starring role in a dramatic capacity and she pulled it off. Having a brilliant co-star such as Burstyn didn’t hurt either.
The only things I really didn’t care for were the ending and the animated nature of the segue between scenes. The animation was in connection with the opening and closing credits and the notebook Greta uses throughout the film. Regardless, it was an unnecessary choice for the duration of the film.
This is definitely not a ‘Hilary Duff’ film, but a dramatic film about a girl struggling to find her place in life, on her own terms. It will be interesting to see if this film signals a new direction for Duff in the choices of roles she takes.