The Daily Gamecock

Review: "Ingrid Goes West" satirizes social media

Movie: "Ingrid Goes West"

Director: Matt Spicer

Runtime: 1 hours 37 minutes

Release Date: August 11, 2017

Grade: B+

Who doesn’t scroll through their phone while on the toilet or brushing their teeth? Who doesn’t scroll through someone’s Instagram obsessively? Social media can control so much of our lives that it can be hard for some people to not see the personal and technological boundary that exists.

Unfortunately for a lot of people in the movie “Ingrid Goes West”, currently being played at the Nickelodeon Theater, Aubrey Plaza’s eponymous main character clearly doesn’t see that boundary. 

Ingrid is a mentally unstable young woman who in the very first scene maces a bride on her wedding day because she’s mad at her for not getting an invitation. Ingrid has some major issues, and after her mom passed away, she doesn’t have anyone to lean on. Ingrid also happens to be an Instagram addict. One day while she’s scrolling through some posts, she stumbles across a young photographer’s profile named Taylor Sloane, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and instantly feels a connection. She follows her on Instagram, but that quickly isn’t enough for her. After getting an inheritance from her late mom, Ingrid packs her bags all the way across the country to where Taylor lives, in Los Angeles. 

Ingrid acclimates herself to the city by going to the restaurants and boutiques Taylor frequents on her Instagram. She also finds a place to live with a Batman enthusiast named Dan, played O’Shea Jackson Jr. a.k.a. Ice Cube’s son. Plaza and Jackson’s chemistry is surprisingly strong, as the two characters both have dark pasts to share. 

Ingrid eventually meets and befriends Taylor through some not-so-sane scheming. They hang out and have a blast, with Ingrid finally feeling like she belongs. However, every time she hangs out with Taylor or her husband, played by Wyatt Russell, tension and frustration start to boil over and the girls' perfect lives start to crack. 

Aubrey Plaza takes her classic manic persona to some pretty dark levels as she slowly loses herself in order to be like Taylor. But the complexity she and screenwriter/director Matt Spicer give Ingrid makes her so human. She’s irrational, sweet, vulnerable, strong, scared, depressed, lonely and loved. Plaza can make you feel all these things at once. The rest of the cast all give laidback performances, but each actor has an opportunity to give the audience some truly dramatic moments. 

The tone of “Ingrid Goes West” shifts to dark comedy to drama pretty naturally. The satire that touches upon social media is the most common thread of the movie, but the most effective used of this is how we can ignore the problems of our real lives in favor of the joys on our countless social media pages.

It successfully gets across the message that real life is where actual friends are made and why they’re not made online. The scenario they present goes far in showing the ramifications of trying to do this in unexpected ways. “Ingrid” still stays grounded thanks to the performances and by not going to far with its twists and turns. It can be a hard film to watch, but it’s definitely worth it for a good laugh and a topical message.