Ingrid Goes West – Movie Review – Smart social media satire.

I recently saw the trailer for this film around a month ago and it had immediately caught my attention. Ever since then I have been anticipating it. The trailer had a great soundtrack that fit the tone well, and the film looked to be something quite different.

This film follows Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) an avid Instagram user who begins stalking Insta famous Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen), who’s perfectly curated boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid’s latest obsession. She then moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into Taylor’s life, and at that point things begin to take a turn for the worse.

This is a rather unique film, and for that I must give it credit. Matt Spicer directed the film but also wrote it along with David Branson Smith. What they have created is a quirky drama that not only feels fresh, but also highlights some interesting themes that have grown to become the norm in today’s society with social media. I would describe the film as a satire of social media obsession, instead of labelling it as a straight up comedy. The film doesn’t attempt to fire jokes at you constantly, and the majority of the successful humour comes from the themes it’s exploring with the characters.

Aubrey Plaza really grabs a hold of this role and runs with it. She seems to be completely in her element, as she plays Ingrid. Ingrid symbolises an aspect of many people that they wouldn’t dare admit, the social media stalker. She becomes obsessed with likes and followers, as if those things are an indication of an individual’s true self worth. Then once she stumbles upon Taylor’s Instagram page she becomes so obsessed that she essentially wants to be her and copy what she does, whilst attempting to gain the same level of Insta fame as her. That particular focus of the narrative is what I found most interesting because it does a great job of showcasing something that is absolutely a problem that people have at this current time. Aubrey showcases a range of different emotions to bring Ingrid to life, but also performs well during the more dramatic moments she is given. The film went much further at trying to put across a message for people to take away from it, than I had expected it to and that only increased how much I liked the film overall.

Whilst Aubrey makes this film her own, that doesn’t mean the supporting roles weren’t great as well. Elizabeth Olsen was suitably believable as Taylor, the famous instagram user. This role was certainly a breath of fresh air for Elizabeth and also O’Shea Jackson Jr. was likeable as Dan, Ingrid’s landlord who has also has an obsession of his own, which happens to be Batman. In fact the script utilises his obsession for Batman to great effect, by making it a metaphor for aspects of Dan and Ingrid’s life.

The film is directed with a lot of style and energy which helps keep the story engaging. My main issue is that the second half of the film slows right down and that energy begins to fizzle away. Essentially the momentum was lost half way through and the film struggled to recapture that momentum from the halfway point onward. I do like the very end of the film and the message it conveys, but despite that I wasn’t particularly fond of the actions throughout the final act that led up to the ending. I think the film was trying to convey how an obsession can go too far, but what Ingrid participates in during the final act felt completely out of character in my eyes.

Overall Ingrid Goes West is a stylish satire of modern social media obsessions. Aubrey Plaza gives a very memorable performance, and the rest of the cast is great. Unfortunately the film doesn’t maintain it’s energetic momentum throughout, but despite that it is still very enjoyable.


(3 Stars Out of 5)


Ingrid Goes West – Starring Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, Billy Magnussenand O’Shea Jackson Jr.

-Directed by Matt Spicer. Now showing in UK Cinemas. Now available for digital streaming in the US.

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