An unhinged social media stalker moves to LA and insinuates herself into the life of an Instagram star.
Since ‘The Social Network’ in 2010, it’s become a lot more frequent to see movies, documentaries and TV shows (such as ‘Black Mirror’) tackle the darker side of social media, with varying results. ‘Ingrid Goes West’ is one of the strongest examples of this sub genre, a sharp social media satire that delves into the world of ‘influencers’ and those who follow them (‘influencers’ being people who make a living from promoting various consumer goods on the likes of Instagram). The film is led by the perfectly cast Aubrey Plaza as the titular Ingrid, a mentally unstable young women who we first see having a meltdown at a wedding she wasn’t invited too – a wedding of someone she was friends with on social media, but clearly not in real life. Shortly afterwards, she discovers the social media profile of Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Sloane), an ‘influencer’ who leads a seemingly idyllic lifestyle in a scenic part of Los Angeles, and she becomes seduced by Taylor’s ‘perfect’ life. Using an inheritance from her mother, Ingrid then moves to Los Angeles, where she attempts to become friends with Taylor.
The role of Ingrid is a gift for Aubrey Plaza, who has made her name in the likes of ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘Legion’ playing disengaged or slightly off kilter young women. As Ingrid starts to immerse herself into Taylor’s life, we can feel the cringe level getting heightened as we wait for the shoe to drop, particularly once Taylor’s highly strung brother (Billy Magnussen) turns up and immediately takes a dislike to Ingrid. Elizabeth Olsen is also really good as Taylor, and I liked that the film never makes her out to be a completely monstrous or vapid person, as it would be easy to do for someone who makes a living as she does. The film draws parallels between the dangers of those obsessed with social media from both sides, showing Taylor’s fake and materialistic lifestyle to ultimately be just as empty as Ingrid’s obsessive behaviour and want for attention. The film is also very funny, full of smart social observations and it’s got a bit of sweetness underneath, mainly through the superb O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ingrid’s new LA landlord.
‘Ingrid Goes West’ is an enjoyable, smart movie that deconstructs the way people portray themselves on social media, showcasing the potentially negative effects of presenting a sanitised and filtered version of your life to others. Led by strong performances from Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen, I thought this was a really good movie and well worth checking out.
Directed By: Matt Spicer
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnusson and Pom Klementieff