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Film Review: Ingrid Goes West

Film Review: Ingrid Goes West

Cautionary Tale Centers On Social Media Obsession


“Ingrid Goes West” is a modern-day stalker story that subverts expectations. Starring Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid, this debut from director Matt Spicer will have you on the edge of your seat throughout this cautionary tale centered on social media obsession.

The plot of this film follows Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) as she reaches a low point in her life and moves to Los Angeles to pursue a friendship with Instagram blogger Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) and join in with the perceived California life she leads. Labelled as a black comedy, the humor may not be for all but is worth a watch for the commentary on our societal fixation with the social media bubble.

The film has some over-the-top moments that may put some viewers off, but fans of Aubrey Plaza’s other work may enjoy this aspect. “Ingrid Goes West” is aimed at the generation of social media users obsessed with Instagram and Twitter likes. With this in mind, people unfamiliar with current social media may not find this film as enjoyable, as most is dedicated to satirizing social media trends, such as avocado on toast and the lengths people will go to get the perfect selfie.

All of the characters in “Ingrid Goes West” are well-played, with a stand-out performance from O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Dan Pinto. The character brought a lighter comedy to the film and although he didn’t have as much screen time, he stood out and left a lasting impression.

Despite all of the characters being well written, most of the main cast are fundamentally unlikable. Protagonist Ingrid comes across as an unlikable character due to a limited backstory and weak motivation, so audiences’ feelings of empathy for her situation are limited. In spite of this, Ingrid is a character you will root for, and ultimately want to avoid conflict.

The premise of this film is a good one, however it could be argued the execution was not as effective as it could have been. Season three, episode one (“Nose Dive”) of “Black Mirror” put across a similar message but with a more disturbing effect. Although “Ingrid Goes West” is more realistic and true to life, Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) and the false impression she gives off over social media could be compared to that of the characters in this episode of “Black Mirror”.

The ending of the film is open to interpretation and is somewhat divisive, however it keeps with the earlier tone of the film. “Ingrid Goes West” is designed to make the viewer uncomfortable and has frequent moments that will make you cringe as you watch the plot unfold. Despite this, it is an important message that people should consider in their daily lives.

Megan Derbyshire and Aurora Harris are British filmmakers currently residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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