Ingrid Goes West is a black comedy directed by Matt Spicer, following an unstable social media addict as she goes to LA in search of a better life, inserting herself into the lifestyle of an insta-famous star, the film stars Aubrey Plaa, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Wyatt Russell and Billy Magnusson.
Ah where to start with this film, it’s a comedy alright but a pretty dark one, a bit darker than what I was expecting to be honest but with the plots opening and Aubrey Plaza in the lead role, I shouldn’t have been too surprised. The central theme of the story is social media and the way it manages to hook our interest and attention, much to an extreme level in the case of Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) whose whole life seems to revolve around the need for validation and attention, or at least her jealousy of other people whose lives are glamorous and seemingly ‘perfect’.
The truth, even in the real world being that no one has a perfect life and social media just shows the world idealized snippets of life but Ingrid doesn’t know that of course. There’s a very poignant, of the time feel to the plot and it’s so clearly on the nose but a story that I feel needed to be explored as a film nonetheless I feel, as Ingrid embodies the very real and all too common comparison of your life to someone elses, who may be a lifestyle blogger, vlogger or YouTuber and the danger that can arise when you try to imitate a life or lifestyle that isn’t yours.
Ingrid trying to do exactly that is what drives the plot forward in a dark yet humorous way, with this person devoting her entire existence to being essentially associated with the instagram famous Taylor Sloane played by chameleon Elizabeth Olsen who nails it in yet another role, effortlessly portraying the ambitious yet air-headed social media star and photographer. Using all the cliché, roll your eyes hash-tags that you can often see in real life, this is a credit to the good writing in the film which gives Aubrey Plaza a lot to work with and makes the plot more progressively tense as you expect bad things to happen to her, there’s interesting depth to Ingrid than what you see on the surface as you can see how she manipulates her way to get to what she wants, compensating for something missing in her life.
Importantly, we also see things aren’t perfect for Taylor, she’s a bit reckless and we get an inkling that she’s also putting up a front herself from her boyfriend Ezra (Wyatt Russell) which brings an interesting dynamic to things.
It’s not all doom and gloom though as landlord Daniel Pinto (O’Shea Jackson Jr) is a bright spark in the story and brings a genuine, laid back performance to everything, bringing a more realistic, grounded voice to what’s going on and to Ingrids actions, which are clearly over the top. On the whole, Ingrid Goes West is a very engaging, dark and tragic story with some light shining through, it’s entertaining in all the wrong ways and highlights societies obsession with the notion of the impossible perfect life and pursuit of it which clearly doesn’t work for everyone. It feels very of the time and I enjoyed it from start to finish, as uncomfortable as it got at points along the way because hey, life isn’t is more than just a series of perfect instagram images or at least I hope it is for most people.
. Good writing, simplistic and straightforward storytelling
. Good performances, especially Olsen, Plaza and O’Shea Jackson Jr
. Plot isn’t particularly that deep and may be a bit too over the top for some