Ingrid Goes West Review

Ingrid Goes West - Poster #1

Within the past decade, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have taken over our lives. Using these platforms, we have the ability to curate idealized versions of our lives. We also have the ability to connect and follow people that we find interesting. But our social media obsessed culture is so bad that Hollywood has taken notice. From Showtime’s “Dark Net” to Netflix’s “Black Mirror”, there is no shortage of scaremongering programs within the past couple of years. The latest offering, Ingrid Goes West, is set to give us a lighter outlook on the pitfalls of being Insta-famous. Does Ingrid succeed in providing a proper commentary on our culture?

In a way, Ingrid Goes West does succeed. Behind Aubrey Plaza’s fearless and poignant performance, Ingrid provides a sharp commentary on our obsession with being relevant on Instagram. However, don’t expect the film to dive heavily into the exploration of this subject matter.

Ingrid Goes West follows Ingrid Thorburn, a sociopathic social media stalker, that continually finds “meaningful” relationships out of her Instagram feed. After an ugly incident, she is sent to a mental institution where she gets help. Once out of the hospital, she stumbles upon Taylor Sloane, a social media influencer that is living the life in California. Ingrid decides to move to Los Angeles to insert herself into Taylor’s life… By any means necessary.

Ingrid Goes West - Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza

Right now we’re living in an age where social media dominates our lives. Our public personas help us to become “Insta-famous” or an influencer but there are downsides to this kind of Internet fame: Stalkers. Typically, we tend to side with the victims instead of the stalkers themselves. Yet there’s something strange that happens when you watch Ingrid Goes West. As the film unfolds, you begin to side with the stalker instead of the victim.

One might think Ingrid Thorburn is a psychotic individual who needs a lot of therapy… And you would be right. However as the story unfolds, you see what kind of tragic figure Ingrid really is. By the time the credits roll, you don’t know whether you want to be her friend or put a restraining order on her. It’s that kind of dichotomy that makes the film so interesting. David Branson Smith and Matt Spicer put together a script that provides a hilarious and sharp commentary about social media, millennial culture, and finding acceptance in the digital age. It’ll make you think real hard about what kind of social media stars we’re putting up on pedestals.

But not only does Spicer infuse a hipster culture into his script but he does it visually as well. Spicer is able to create scenes that speak to modern audiences including some Apple-inspired Instagram picture montages. Also, he’s able to attain the look and feel of living in Southern California—right down to the all the privileged douchebag stereotypes.

Ingrid Goes West - Aubrey Plaza

Then again, there are some issues with the film. For one thing, some of the characters in Ingrid Goes West are one-dimensional. With the exception of Ingrid and Taylor, none of the other characters really develop throughout the film. They push Ingrid through the story but it seems as if that’s their only purpose in the film. In addition, the film’s two leads aren’t relatable enough to attach ourselves to them. Believe it or not, Dan Pinto (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) is by far the most sympathetic character due to the fact that he’s genuinely the nicest character in the film.

Nevertheless, what makes Ingrid Goes West work is the unhinging performance by Aubrey Plaza. We’ve seen her play crazy on “Legion” and a bitch on “Parks & Recreation” but this is the best we’ve seen her. Ingrid is the epitome of seemingly every character she’s played throughout her career. Thus, she’s able to bring a familiarity to the role and bring a wide emotional range to the character. She’s able to bring a funny, quirky, tragic, and crazy side to her character.

Not to mention Elizabeth Olsen shines as Taylor Sloane as well. She portrays her character in such a two-faced way that you can’t help but pity Ingrid at times. She’s basically that friend who ditches you for something that’ll help her climb the social ladder. O’Shea Jackson Jr. is charismatic as Dan Pinto. It’s a great change of pace for him after Straight Outta Compton. Actually, it’s quite funny how believable he is as a love struck, Batman Forever obsessed fanboy. Jackson talking about Batman is truly a sight to behold.

Overall, Ingrid Goes West is a fresh and modern look at today’s social media heavy society. It’s a smart and topical film that most people who use social media should watch. And my guess is that most of you reading this are social media savvy. But despite the alarming subject matter, Ingrid Goes West will make you laugh and maybe even shed a tear or two. Just be wary of your social media stalkers as you photograph your chai lattes and avocado toasts.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

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