REVIEW: Ingrid Goes West (2017)

Written By: Nigel Asipa
Someone should tell Ingrid to never mistaken your followers for your friends. 
We live in a world now hen being yourself isn’t enough. In Clarisse Loughrey’s article with The Independent, she makes observations on society’s doomed dependence on losing ourselves whenever we try to tell the truth about ourselves on platforms such as Instagram. It’s an opportunity to show the world that life isn’t so bad, at least when it’s yours.
When we first meet Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) she’s distraught at being slighted by her best friend Charlotte Buckwald (Meredith Hagner) who was suppose to invite Ingrid to her wedding. Ingrid scrolls through Charlotte’s Instagram on her stable, prosperous lifestyle. With vengeful spirit, Ingrid strolls on down to Charlotte’s wedding reception and pepper sprays her eyes, fleeing the scene right away.

Ingrid goes west

Turns out the two weren’t buddies to even begin with. All it took was a ‘LIKE’ on one of Ingrid’s posts and that was it, BBF’s. With a one track mind, Ingrid doesn’t enjoy her own company. She’s fragile, tempermental (emphasis on mental) delusional. Yet this is someone we constantly confide in her as being alone is slowly killing her.
After some time at a mental institute, she sees an article on Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). A photographer with much influence on the social media landscape. The words in the article ‘Meet Taylor Sloane, your new girl crush’ ring true for Ingrid, as the liking-every-single-photo phase kicks in and Ingrid is continually amazed at the well taylored lifestyle Taylor lives. It’s pretty clear what she needs to do next, she sets off on a journey of self (or selfie) discovery to be inhabited in Taylor’s life.

Ingrid goes west (2017)

Aubrey Plaza is sensational as Ingrid. Wickedly funny and charmingly cunning, we follow this damaged woman to certain dark territory as she plots to nudge aside anyone who gets in her way of that life she desperately seeks to claim.  Very few are wise to her act, Billy Magnussen’s Nicky Sloane proves to be the one fly in her soup though and it’s then we see her appealing relentless to remove him from the equation.
Olsen is well cast as Taylor whose nervous laugh and radiant glow suggest an underlying superficiality, revealing her to be perhaps the antagonist. O’shea is superfluous as Pinto whose goofy charm and genuine sincerity is a winning formula.
Director and co writer Matt Spicer infuses Ingrid Goes West with topical insight to sideline the offbeat, absurd comedic value without ever getting preachy. By focusing on maintaining the empathy the audience should feel for Ingrid, despite her heinous actions, we’re able to learn from her to never lose ourselves in more ways than one.

Ingrid goes west (2017)

Using Instagram and other social media like it is like superheroes. We run the risk of pretending to be someone and escaping our true selves. The universal fear of being alone is relevant and well realized here. Ezra is the only one who is the safest from this dilemma as his technophobia as his wife puts it, allows him to remain humble and observant if not cynical.
As my favourite critic Richard Roeper puts it, “Ingrid has a soul”. Compared to the rest of the social media delinquents, Ingrid is free to be herself as she’s yet to find herself. Ingrid Goes West does are far more successful attempt than say The Emoji Movie in addressing society’s tolerance on how much of ourselves do we share with the world, and how free are we really.
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