Review: Ingrid Goes West takes a dark, comedic look at insta-life. #iamingrid

aubrey plaza and elizabeth olsen in ingrid goes west

This is one we’ve been hyped on for a hot minute and happily for us, it paid off in a few unexpected ways. Ingrid Goes West is the first feature length film for director Matt Spicer and aside from the focus-puller being asleep at the wheel (or maybe it was just a peculiarity to this specific theater) it comes out strong.

Synopsis: “Ingrid Thorburn is an unhinged social media stalker with a history of confusing “likes” for meaningful relationships. Taylor Sloane is an Instagram-famous “influencer” whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid’s latest obsession. When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star’s life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF.” 

For anyone unfamiliar with the post-social media generation, you’ll need Rosetta Stone – Young People Edition to understand that synopsis. Basically the story is an updated version of something between Single White Female, The Fan and Cable Guy. Much like Vigalando’s Colossal (which we hope you still aren’t sleeping on), the trailer for Ingrid Goes West sells it as a straight-up rom-com type movie where you think the endearing, but misled young misfit will find out what true friendship really is…or something boring like that. Spicer pulls that rug out from under you and leaves the audience emotionally reeling.

aubrey plaza in ingrid goes west

Ingrid Goes West takes a long, hard look at the perils of insta-culture from pretty much every angle imaginable. Whether it be the neurosis of a carefully curated IG feed or the dreaded FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) that overtakes you when you see someone else “enjoying life” while you sit alone devouring In-N-Out fries (animal style) – and everything in between.

Through Elizabeth Olsen’s Taylor and Aubrey Plaza’s Ingrid we see both ends of the detrimental social media spectrum when it comes to letting your online life dictate your offline life. It’s not all gimmick however as the two lead actresses give a sense of humanity and realism to characters that could easily have been portrayed one dimensionally. Nearly every character hides behind a glossy veneer of some cultivated identity, truly blurring the line at times between Ingrid and the people she idolizes.

o'shea jackson in ingrid goes west

The only character who seems to be living an authentic life is O’Shea Jackson’s Dan Pinto. First off – Dan Pinto is an amazing name for a screenwriter/stoner/landlord. Despite this only being Jackson’s second acting role in his career, he pretty much steals every scene he’s in. His portrayal of Dan Pinto is earnest, quirky and just really, really memorable. Pinto’s relatable, likeable nature is the anchor that holds it down for the cast so they can go extra hard in the paint. We should all be so lucky to have a Dan Pinto in our lives.

Spicer keeps the film from becoming a finger-wagging takedown of social media culture and uses the current technological atmosphere to tell a timeless story. If it weren’t insta-fame, the point of fixation could just as easily translate to the deification of athletes or celeb-obessions; stalkers are not a new phenomena. Even more refreshing is that Spicer does the subject matter justice. While it is a comedy, it is very much a dark comedy that doesn’t give the audience the cookie-cutter, fairytale ending you’d normally expect. There are a few laughs along the way, but the laughs give way to horrified gasps and frustrated grimaces in what is ultimately a comedic look at a dark, twisted side of the human mind.

Hit us up on Twitter @official_FAN with your insta-crush of the moment and be sure to catch Ingrid Goes West in theaters now if you live in a market cool enough to run it.