Review – Ingrid Goes West

Ingrid Goes West Poster

#BFF #Stalker #IsThisRealLife

After getting out of a psych ward, having dealt with…inappropriate boundaries…Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) is trying to get her life together and find an awesome new best friend. Reading profile done on Instagram influencer and LA socialite, Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) proves to be the inspiration she needs – she packs up and heads out west, determined to befriend Taylor and create the type of life she craves. O’Shea Jackson Jr. also stars as Ingrid’s sorta sketchy, Batman-loving, new landlord.

An incredibly pertinent and bitingly realistic satire of today’s internet culture, Ingrid Goes West dives into the Instragram rabbit hole. It doesn’t even have to dive that deep before things start to get loopy. If you’ve never heard of “influencers” who make a living by taking pictures of themselves using various companies’ products and posting them on Instragram and other social media, this movie is going to be an eye opener. Tackling the desperate desire for acceptance and being liked that social media exacerbates among current generations, Ingrid never once feels implausible or over top – despite how over the top it ends up by the time the end credits roll.

In Ingrid, we can all identify that part of us who just wants to fit in. She could have easily been presented in a negative light – after all, she is, by most measures, a pretty terrible person if we are going to go by her actions throughout the film. Yet the story never passes judgment down upon her, offering up sympathy and empathy instead. It takes something special to make us root for a dishonest stalker who is only out for herself, and who callously uses those who care about her.

Slowly building from believable, to out of control yet still believable, the path Ingrid takes us down is one that should feel familiar to anyone who’s poked around the corners of the web. Sure it may be exaggerated a bit to convey a point, but not so much that I ever doubted that this exact scenario could easily play out IRL. Equal parts cautionary and sympathetic, it’s a tale that takes a look at one shade of mental illness in the age of social media.

The small cast fleshes out the recognizable modern character tropes into something more, despite a brisk run-time, bringing meaning and personality to the roles. The film doesn’t quite succeed in saying everything it sets out to, but what it does get through is on point. With a harsh yet hopeful ending, it goes out on an incredibly effective note, leaving the viewer with not a few thoughts and opinions swirling.

Ingrid Goes West is an effective and provocative commentary of today that is darkly funny and an enjoyable watch. I’d check it out if I were you.

My rating: Four out of five hats

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Mrs. Hamster says:

“Quote pending”

Brother Hamster did not screen this film

Trailer (warning, especially spoilery trailer):

Ingrid Goes West follows 647 theaters, August 25