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As director Matt Spicer’s first feature length film, Ingrid Goes West sets an incredibly high bar for his future endeavors. Tackling the enigmatic world of social media (specifically Instagram), Spicer centers the story around Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza), who is in desperate need of a friend (IRL, not just on social), as she mourns the death of her mother. Alone and depressed, she becomes obsessed with L.A. socialite Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) who she begins to follow on Instagram. With her mother’s last $60,000 in tow, Ingrid makes the cross-country trip to L.A. to start a new life. And after a “chance” encounter with Taylor, the two ladies become fast “friends,” which leads to a few comic, yet awkwardly painful mishaps.

In a warm and sunny L.A., Spicer paints a pretty bleak image of Instagram celebrity. Among the  many adjectives that could be used to describe this film, picturesque is the one that sticks out. Taylor is perfect! She’s beautiful. She’s ambitious. She’s cultured. She’s a supportive wife and an all-around fun friend. She’s the sort of girl that you read about in magazines, hoping that you’ll grow up to be just like her. So, it’s easy to become obsessed, especially when you’re awkward, lonely, and well, Ingrid.

As picturesque photos of beaches, yummy meals, and good times flood Taylor’s Instagram, she easily reminds us of our social-savvy friend or even the people that we, ourselves, follow and “like” on any social platform. Ingrid, on the other hand, is just looking for companionship and some sort of connection outside of the synthetic social bubble. She wants to know that she matters and this desperation blinds her to the fact that she actually does, even if it’s not necessarily among social influencers. Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen play their roles to perfection, convincingly conveying the relationship between the “socially-liked” and the “socially-neglected.” Though this situation is pretty familiar to those of us who heavily engage with social media, the chemistry between the two actresses—with the help of supporting actors, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, and Billy Magnussen—makes the story all the more absurd.

Between the laughs and cringe-worthy craziness, Ingrid Goes West has a pretty big heart. It asks us to question our attachment to social media and the superficial image of “perfection” that we buy into. And Andy Warhol’s iconic saying rings true: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Yeah, but at what cost?

One thought on “INGRID GOES WEST Depicts the Comedically Bleak Image Beneath Our Social Media Obsession Leave a comment

  1. Yeah, I think I saw this a while ago. Took my daughter to see it too. Was fun. More importantly, she did cut back on spending so much time on instagram. Sanpchat, not so much. Anyways, I’ll take my wins, so, yay!

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