The new movie Ingrid Goes West is a fun, dark take on social media. The film revolves around Ingrid, who moves to LA to befriend (or stalk) Instagram personality Taylor Sloan. What follows is a crazy tale, as Ingrid changes her life to mimic Taylor. Ingrid’s journey is exciting to watch, and the audience can’t help but root for Ingrid’s crazy plans. Ingrid Goes West is a pretty formulaic film, but its standout style makes it great.
Ingrid’s journey to befriend Taylor is fairly easy to predict. It’s the humor of the film that makes it entertaining. Using Instagram as a framework for Ingrid’s obsessive personality works wonderfully. It’s almost like an episode of Black Mirror, as the film is entrenched in the modern world of technology. However, much like Black Mirror, the movie isn’t really ABOUT technology. It’s about broader themes, like living vicariously through others. The humor and style, particularly the use of cell phone technology, makes Ingrid Goes West feel especially original.
The highlights of the film are definitely the two leads. Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid is a dynamic and funny protagonist. Ingrid is more than just an obsessive cell phone addict. Watching Plaza transform from an insane slob to a West Coast wannabe is hilarious. Ingrid is also relatable in a way, as she tries to live vicariously through Taylor. Elizabeth Olsen, additionally, is great as the entitled social media star. The way these two bounce off each other makes for a compelling core of the film.
Unfortunately, many of the characters are too one-note. Dan Pinto (O’Shea Jackson Jr) has great comedic timing, but his character is flat. Jackson is fun as the semi-romantic interest, but his obsession with Batman gets old quick. Likewise, Nicky (Billy Magnussen) is a fairly basic bro – literally, he’s Taylor’s douchey brother. Nicky is more obnoxious than evil, and it makes him a more boring antagonist.
The ending highlights what makes the film work so well. The darkness that Ingrid Goes West explores makes the film work. The movie is a truly dark satire of modern life. Ingrid Goes West uses Instagram as a way to explore how people fiend for attention, and the need for validation. Ingrid Goes West is a formulaic film, but a stylistic triumph.
STAND-OUT PERFORMANCES: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr.