Ingrid Goes West – A Sobering Dark Comedy

In the age of social media, everyone dreams of making it big one day and becoming popular. We have become more superficial as a society, being judged by our followers, likes, etc, than the content of our character. This makes this new film even more relevant.

Synopsis: Following a series of self-inflicted setbacks, young Ingrid Thorburn escapes a humdrum existence by moving out West to befriend her Instagram obsession and LA socialite Taylor Sloane. After a quick bond is forged between these unlikeliest of friends, the façade begins to crack in both women’s lives — with comically malicious results. (Mongrel Media)

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, and O’Shea Jackson Jr.

Writers: David Branson Smith and Matt Spicer

Director: Matt Spicer

Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)

Running Time: 97mins

Trailer: 

For showtimes and more, check out Ingrid Goes West on movietimes.com.

This film explores social media culture by satirizing it through the character of Ingrid Thorburn (Plaza). Ingrid was a mentally-unstable loner, obsessed with being popular. After overstaying her welcome, Ingrid decided to move to Los Angeles after becoming obsessed with an Instagram celebrity named Taylor Sloane (Olsen).

Ingrid thought that by latching on to Taylor, she can improve her own standing. She also went to great lengths for them to become friends which wasn’t always easy due to her inferior social skills but with Taylor being so public, it was not particularly difficult to find information on her as she would post about everything. Of course once Ingrid and Taylor became friends, Taylor didn’t know what was going on as Ingrid managed to make herself into a perfect stranger in her eyes.

Seeing Ingrid and Taylor’s relationship play out on screen was fun to watch as they were having fun together so it was easy to feel good for Ingrid in that respect, however, it was probably not going to last forever. The cracks were building as she competed with the rest of Taylor’s social life to be the center of attention. She went to great lengths to become friends with Taylor and she would prove to go as far to keep it but she could only do it for so long unnoticed.

Ingrid had another relationship with her neighbor and landlord named Dan Pinto (Jackson Jr.). Pinto was perhaps not an essential character but their dynamic was fun to watch. The pot-smoking, Batman-loving, aspiring screenwriter was Ingrid’s only real friend and helped to balance out all the craziness. The film’s depiction of social media culture was rightfully over the top, mirroring our current society of over-sharers and plenty of other zany opinions. With this comes the film’s warning about the use of social media and how it influences one’s self-worth.

This film would absolutely not have worked if not for Plaza’s emotionally nuanced performance as Ingrid. She was the best part of the film by far, successfully making a character who has no right to be likable, likable. She was very compelling to watch from beginning to end as she awkwardly weaseled her way into Taylor’s life. It could be argued that Ingrid was a stalker but did not make her any less rootable.  Olsen was good as well and she had good chemistry with Plaza. This chemistry continued  with Jackson Jr. They were fun to watch although it wouldn’t have been nice to have seen, more of him here.

Overall, this was an amazing, smartly written, dark comedy that satirizes the social media age in an appropriate, over the top fashion that will force viewers to take a deep look at themselves, and features a career performance by Aubrey Plaza.

Score: 9.5/10

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