Ingrid Goes West Into Technological Obsession
Review by Brenda Torres
Ingrid Goes West is a comedy-drama directed by Matt Spicer starring Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid Thorburn. Following the death of her mother, Ingrid curbs her loneliness by obsessively using Instagram. She starts following a photographer/influencer with a seemingly perfect life named Taylor Sloane, who is played by Elizabeth Olsen. Without family or friends to discourage her from making rash decisions, Ingrid is dead set on befriending this stranger and decides to move to Los Angeles to do just that.
The beginning of the movie reminded me of Black Mirror Season 3 Episode 1, “Nosedive” and progresses with Ingrid doing whatever it takes to befriend Taylor. Ingrid goes as far as stealing Taylor’s dog, Rothko (so artsy, 🙄) so she can meet her under the pretense of being a kind stranger who is simply returning a lost dog, as revealed in the trailer below:
I’m used to seeing Aubrey Plaza portray the ever-so-aloof April Ludgate in “Parks and Recreation” so I was very impressed by her performance because it showcases her ability to portray a wide range of emotions. Ingrid’s laid-back landlord and potential love interest Dan Pinto is played by O’Shea Jackson Jr., who elevated his supporting role into a really memorable part of the movie. If you happen to go watch this in a theater that serves alcohol, I dare you to drink every time he vapes.
Thanks to numerous articles and studies, I’d say that by this point we’re aware of the correlation between overusing social media and feelings of unhappiness/inadequacy. However, I love that the film is not only highlighting this problem, but satirizing it. Coming from someone who deleted all social media and recently transitioned into using it again, this is a movie we desperately needed. It’s hard to express my qualms about the movie without giving any spoilers, but some aspects of it initially made me feel as though it was glamorizing mental illness because it’s clear that Ingrid has mental issues that are never really worked through.
In retrospect, the film is not about mental illness, it’s about technological obsession, the social awkwardness a life of social media will produce, and a cautionary tale to all those drawn to the dim blue glow of their devices. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Matt Spicer says, “The reality is that we’re all sort of stalkers on Instagram. We’re all voyeurs, and we’re looking at everybody else’s life. So we wanted people to feel uncomfortable with how much they related to Ingrid and to confront the parts of themselves that are like Ingrid.” I believe he succeeded.
Rating: 4 Coronas outta 5.
What do you think? Was the film wildly funny until it wasn't? Did you see pieces of yourself in Ingrid? Is Ingrid one of the crazy obsessed characters in cinema history? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and, as always, remember to viddy well!