The more relatable a story is, the more terrifying it can be, and Ingrid Goes West is thrilling evidence to this concept.
A sensational take on the danger and toxicity of social media, Ingrid Goes West is meant to be a comedy. The discomfort and anxiety audiences might feel witnessing the trainwreck that is our protagonist, Ingrid, however, is no laughing matter. We follow her on a journey of manic ‘Single White Female’ level obsession narrated by Instagram. While it’s filled with smart humor, it might also make you consider making your online profiles private.
The technology focused cautionary film is a feat not easily achieved. Movies like last year’s Nerve and 2014’s Unfriended both used the structure liberally however had their important messages clouded by their weak stories. Ingrid manages to use the text bubbles and online profiles to its full advantage while maintaining its artistry and story. Director Matt Spicer leads a story that encapsulates the temporary validation and shallowness of social media that manages to engage its viewers and doesn’t rely on the relatability of social media to keep audiences involved. Fully developed multi-dimensional characters and stunning classic West Coast shots make Ingrid Goes West a thriller that’s both pleasant to the eye and will leave you rooting and sympathizing for the self-destructive crazy character.
Aubrey Plaza’s performance as the deranged Ingrid drives the film to new heights and could very well be a career game changer for the comedian. The Parks and Rec alum has gotten the opportunity to lead in the past, more specifically with the critically acclaimed Safety Not Guaranteed and 2013’s The To-Do List but her work in Ingrid Goes West is a career standout. Plaza brings Ingrid to life with a balance of insanity and charm, the character both shines and deteriorates, and Plaza portrays both ends of the scale with depth. Elizabeth Olsen perfectly fits in the role of a quintessential social media influencer while O’Shea Jackson Jr. really delivers as ‘Dan Pinto,’ Ingrid’s neighbor. The Straight Outta Compton breakout star is incredibly likable on screen, and contributes witty comic relief during the film’s most intense moments.
A Sundance hit sure to captivate wide audiences, Ingrid Goes West speaks to the social media insecurities and fears in all of us. The late night stalking and and the anxious wait for like notifications aren’t just the realities of an insane woman like Ingrid, but most people who indulge in social media. A thrilling and witty commentary on the toxicity of social media, Ingrid Goes West manages to incorporate technology and comedy without coming across as preachy and cheap, and gives the platform for Aubrey Plaza to dazzle and gives one of the year’s most compelling performances.
The film hits theaters this Friday.