The age of social media has spawned many essays, spanning the emoji spectrum from 💕 to 🍆. Yet it’s Matt Spicer’s debut feature, INGRID GOES WEST, that gets to the ❤️ of how the various platforms have become ubiquitous part of our culture. A film that is equal parts dark comedy and a study in obsession, it’s also a great vehicle for the talents of lead Aubrey Plaza. #aubreyplazaismyspiritanimal
After undergoing psychiatric help following an obsessive relationship with a social media ‘friend,’ Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) travels to Los Angeles🌞 to work her way into the life of social influencer Taylor (Elisabeth Olsen). While a very real friendship begins with landlord, neighbour, and Batman devotee Dan (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Ingrid’s determination to be part of Taylor’s “#perfect” life becomes a little #craycray.🤪
While it would be easy to place this into a Single White Female stalker category, or a simple comedy about current trends, Spicer and David Branson Smith’s script goes much further than this. Ingrid is certifiable, a fact established early in the film. This is a character who kidnaps a dog 🐶 to ingratiate herself into Taylor’s life, after all. Yet she’s also a representation of all of us in the audience, where connection is not only based on how many likes, follows, or regrams you might have, but a necessary part of social acceptance.
Finding the right tonal balance between parody and drama, Olsen is pitch-perfect as the fairweather #Instafamous friend, one whose narcissism is just as damaging to her relationship with her artist husband (Wyatt Russell) as it is to Ingrid’s fragile psyche. Plaza embraces her starring vehicle by kicked her Wednesday Adams routine to the curb with an amazing performance that veers between manic enthusiasm and torrential bawling. Yet closest that film gets to true darkness is the cycle of blackmail and violence that Ingrid gets into when Taylor’s brother Nicky (Billy Magnussen) latches onto her motives.📱
In the end, the film’s emotionally satisfying climax says more about social media trends than most pieces of marketing software . Even so, this isn’t a film about how social media has made us obsessive or disconnected from one another. It’s about how it has amplified our need to find those basic human connections to a global scale, leaving us on an optimistic note. #iamingrid #oneworld #blessed♥ #filmlife📽️
INGRID GOES WEST screened at the Sydney Film Festival 2017.