Ingrid Goes West
7th October 2017 9.00pm at Picturehouse Central
8th October 2017 12.45pm at Curzon Mayfair
14th October 2017 8.45pm at Picturehouse Central
How many hours did you spend on Instagram before arriving here? How many pictures did you Like? How many people do you Follow? Matt Spicer’s feature debut addresses the social media culture of today and its power to facilitate unhealthy obsessions. After receiving $60,000 from her mother’s will, disturbed Instagram stalker Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) moves to Los Angeles with the intention of making friends with Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), an Instagram celebrity. But when Taylor’s brother, Nicky (Billy Magnussen), catches wind of Ingrid’s internet activity, her secrets become difficult to conceal.
Modern movies are often hesitant to place the internet or social media at the core of the story. Even The Social Network was more about the lawsuit rather than Facebook’s impact on society. But Ingrid Goes West tackles these issues head-on, with heavy themes of loneliness forced against the common delusion of fitting in via Likes and Followers. Spicer and co-writer David Branson Smith have crafted a surreal social drama, extremely relevant to our times, and laced with a Coenesque black humour.
Aubrey Plaza, who also produced the film, is an excellent lead and the viewer never leaves her side. She delivers a disturbed, emotional performance that we can’t help but sympathise with. There’s not enough time spent with O’Shea Jackson Jr, who plays Ingrid’s lover. Plaza and Jackson create an electric chemistry between the characters, and these scenes show the real Ingrid – not what she is trying, desperately, to become.
Given Olsen’s indie-movie talent, it’s unfortunate that she is not given much to work with. Her character is an annoying, pseudo-intellectual Instagrammer who doesn’t have any hidden emotional depth. As Ingrid learns more about her, the less interesting she seems. Maybe that’s the point.
Ingrid Goes West is funny and revealing. It doesn’t go far enough in its pessimism about social media, but engages the viewer with Ingrid’s internet-frenzied character. The audience comes to the troubling realisation that they’re not so different. We may not share all her stalkerish tendencies, but what about our own obsessions? How many times do we check who’s Liked our posts, or who has commented? Who’s Following and who’s not? Ingrid represents all of us. #WeAreIngrid
Ingrid Goes West is released nationwide on 17th November 2017.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Ingrid Goes West here: