Director Matt Spicer’s film Ingrid Goes West is actually playing at my local multiplex. It’s a film that deals primarily with social media addiction and our apparent need for acceptance and appreciation. The outlook on humanity is definitely dower, but packaged in some comedy with lots of uncomfortable moments.
Ingrid Goes West is a difficult movie to enjoy despite its great cast and compelling subject matter
Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) has just gotten out of therapy dealing with her previous internet obsession that ended with her spraying mace in the girl’s face at her wedding. She finds Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) in a magazine and then on Instagram and decides to pack up, take her inheritance, and move to California.
O’Shea Jackson Jr. plays Dan Pinto, a screenwriter who is a landlord to help pay the bills. He rents out an apartment to Ingrid, but soon takes on the role as an imaginary boyfriend to Ingrid. His character is obsessed with Batman and so naturally was my favorite. Plaza is fantastic in her craziness. She manages to garner sympathy while also inducing cringe. Wyatt Russell also does a great job alongside Elizabeth Olsen’s character.
The story is a complicated one to sift through. Ingrid appears to be suffering from some form of mental illness, at the very least depression at the loss of her mother. That makes some of the scenes hard to interpret as they seem to be looking for a comedic tone, but the source of the comedy isn’t a joke. The film equates Ingrid’s obsession with Taylor with the Taylor’s desire to please the unseen masses that are her followers. (Here is another article talking more about it).
Spicer’s film is a hard one to judge. The performances are all great, but the subject matter and cynical tone make it hard to fully embrace. There are many moments where it seems we are meant to laugh at Ingrid’s misfortunes, but they’re all brought on by her apparent disorder. Ingrid Goes West earns the Decent Watch rating.