Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen star in sharp, modern day comedy about living life through an Instragram lens
“Ingrid Goes West” is a sharp, insightful modern day stalker fantasy, “Single White Female” through a Valencia Instagram filter.
In his first full-length feature, director and co-writer Matt Spicer examines the false intimacy of social media and the phoniness (and loneliness) of living your life through an iPhone app. It’s a cautionary tale, but it’s also a comedic satire, and it doesn’t allow itself to get overly preachy.
We first meet Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) as she’s scrolling her Insta feed, getting bombarded by “hashtag vibes” and all the other stupid things people say on social media. Turns out Ingrid is a full-on online stalker, and after she crashes a wedding she wasn’t invited to, she heads to California to track Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), an L.A. social media influencer who becomes her new obsession.
Ingrid and Taylor become fast friends, but only after Ingrid kidnaps Taylor’s dog and pretends she’s the one who found him wandering on the street. “Oh my god you are my favorite person who I have ever met!” Taylor tells her, the kind of fake-familiar hyperbole that has infiltrated contemporary conversation (and is music to a mentally imbalanced stalker’s ears).
There is a lot to admire about “Ingrid Goes West,” starting with Spicer’s sharp ear for dialogue and his lampooning of L.A. culture and the way online cliches have permeated our lives (Taylor’s brother is an “artist” who takes existing paintings and writes phrases like “squad goals” on them). “Straight Outta Compton’s” O’Shea Jackson Jr. also stands out as Ingrid’s Batman-obsessed landlord and boyfriend, adding warmth and depth to a small role.
“Ingrid Goes West” is smart and savvy, and shows the dangers of overly idolizing the rich, fabulous and Instagram-pretty. Go ahead and toss it a #like.
‘Ingrid Goes West’
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, some sexual content and disturbing behavior
Running time: 97 minutes