Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker with a history of confusing “likes” for meaningful relationships. Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is an Instagram-famous “influencer” whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid’s latest obsession. When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star’s life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF. Built around a brilliantly disarming performance from Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West is a savagely hilarious dark comedy that satirizes the modern world of social media and proves that being #perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
The release of Ingrid Goes West is timely as it shows how the younger generation holds onto their electronic devices as if it’s a newborn child while social media opens the door to interaction between celebrities and fans. The film often asks the question ‘How much is too much?’ when it comes to sharing your life with people around the world through different online outlets. What gets posted on the internet stays on the internet. In this digital age it’s important to raise awareness on what is right and wrong when it comes to sharing your life with the public. There have been many stories over the years of obsessed fans that use social media as a way to track down a public figure that they have some kind of attraction to.
A modern day King of Comedy, Ingrid Goes West shows an unbalanced young woman who becomes obsessed with a socialite, with the help of her Instagram she moves to LA in pursuit of the social media star. The film is extremely accurate with its portrayal of Los Angeles and the younger population. First time director Matt Spicer seamlessly weaves tones as it has moments of satirical black comedy while other parts are dark and cringe inducing.
The Sundance hit never goes too far with the narrative, we know Ingrid isn’t in the right state of mind but we’re still waiting patiently for her next move, not knowing the tricks up her sleeve. For being an indie film it’s much more reserved as it holds back instead of going for some drastic shock factor. The films finale is brilliant as the story goes full circle in a sick and twisted manner. For a movie that is so aware of its material Ingrid Goes West rarely misses a beat thanks to the clever script and great ensemble.
Aubrey Plaza gives a performance we’ve never seen from her before. Yes she still brings that deranged humor as she’s known for but here she also manages to perfectly encapsulate isolation and desperation. Ingrid isn’t stable and as soon as she moves to LA she puts on this disguise that is quirky but charming. As things between her and Taylor get sketchy she starts to lose herself and she drops the act and goes back to her old ways. Elizabeth Olsen continues her strong August as the modern day material girl. Everyone knows a girl like Taylor who uses social media as a way to gloat at how perfect their life is. Taylor’s bubbly personality is what makes her such a popular figure but her shallow phoniness sets in as she begins to veer away from her new friend Ingrid as she befriends another “celebrity”.
After his breakout performance in Straight Outta Compton it was refreshing to see O’Shea Jackson Jr in another role. This time he’s not playing someone with a chip on his shoulder, instead he’s the Batman loving, vape blowing landlord/neighbour of Ingrid who becomes a love interest. His natural charisma and on screen presence make him an actor to watch in the future. Other cast members include Wyatt Russell as Taylor’s husband and Billy Magnussen as the over confident brother of Taylor who is always up to no good. Both do great work in their smaller roles and continue to make great choices with their careers.
With the use of social media continuing to break down the privacy barriers Ingrid Goes West is relevant to the times and one of the best indies of the summer. The blend of comedy and drama is effective here as we constantly follow Ingrid and her mood swings. The shifts in tone are welcomed here as it appropriately represents Ingrid’s mental state. Thanks to a cast of notable up and coming actors the film is fluidly told at 97 minutes. As Ingrid Goes West continues to expand do yourself a favour and hunt this one down.