Ingrid Goes West
Matt Spicer’s directorial debut places a Mayfair Instagram filter over a dystopian reality where one’s self-worth is measured by how many likes their latest post receives, and human interactions are reduced to glowing letters on a five-inch screen. Cleverly satirical and obviously commentative, Ingrid Goes West reminds us of the dark side of social media outside of typical culprits, such as cyber-bullying or online harassment.
Aubrey Plaza’s (Parks and Recreation, Legion) idiosyncratic personality is a perfect fit for the role of Ingrid, a socially awkward and clearly disturbed 20-something living alone after the passing of her mother. We follow this character after her short stint in a mental institution, since attacking her former obsession with pepper spray, and into her new life (and new fixation).
Ingrid’s character is agonisingly misguided, from the moment she manically storms into a wedding to which she was not invited, to her decision to blow her mother’s $60,000 inheritance on a last-stretch effort to stay close to Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen), the subject of her most recent social media predation. Ultimately, the only real desire in Ingrid’s life is one that surpasses that of money or accomplishments, but rather, simply to gain a best friend (and a little internet fame while she’s at it).
Perhaps the greatest aspect of this film is the “all-star kin” casting choices, whether intentional or not. Ingrid Goes West features an Olsen sibling and the son of famous rapper-actor Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr), both of whom are definitely not strangers to the pressures of fame and social media. Coupled with Black Mirror veteran Wyatt Russel (Ezra), whose placement in the movie may very well be a nod to the gloomy television series, Ingrid Goes West could not have featured a more perfect ensemble.
There are a few hideously cheesy elements throughout the film, such as having to watch Dan (Jackson) take puffs from his vape-pen every time he is on screen. However, this just demonstrates the painfully funny satirical vein running along the length of the movie.
The addiction element runs rampant throughout the storyline: from Ingrid’s social-media obsession, to the heavy drug-use and alcoholism of pretty much all of the main characters. Ultimately, Spicer and Plaza, who also produced the film, give their audience a well-rounded view of the world through the dark decisions of a social media stalker.
Hilarious, uncomfortable, and sad all at the same time, Ingrid Goes West is exactly what every budding social media “influencer” needs to see.
Ingrid Goes West is released nationwide on 17th November 2017.
Watch the trailer for Ingrid Goes West here: