This was first published on 22/09/17 as part of London Film Festival.
Taking some of those slightly stalkerish tendencies that we all give into every now and then (yeah, I know every outfit you wore on your holiday to Mallorca last month, Becky) to the extreme, Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) goes West to LA after the death of her mother to pursue a friendship with someone who she feels she knows, but is actually a complete stranger.
Plaza plays a gloriously unhinged social media obsessive recovering from a spectacular breakdown that opens the film. After returning home and being reconnected to her phone, which then sticks to her hand like glue for the rest of the film, Plaza does incredibly well in portraying Ingrid as a deeply troubled yet relatable 21st-century girl, whose situation is often the subject of the dark humour that runs through the film.
Though Ingrid is undeniably a nightmare to anyone with more than 10 followers, target of insta-worthy friendship Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) isn’t necessarily the one to side with. An “influencer” whose life – complete with dog and shaggily handsome artist husband (Wyatt Russell) – seems #blessed, Taylor’s vacuous posts are hilariously narrated by Olsen as Ingrid scrolls through them, filled with such classics as plates of avocados and sun-filled selfies that behind the scenes are the work of hours of photo shoots.
The film takes the common knowledge that social media stars are quite often not what they seem online, but places them through Ingrid’s absorbing but naive eyes, which are hungry for friendship and the heavily edited life that she sees on her phone screen, making her efforts to connect seem desperate and unnatural.
Ingrid Goes West is a black-humoured, intelligent and delightfully uncomfortable portrayal of the feeling of being connected to the world, yet completely alone at the same time. It’ll make you squirm in your seat and abandon Instagram for a while after.
CAST: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
DIRECTOR: Matt Spicer
WRITERS: David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer
SYNOPSIS: An unhinged social media stalker moves to LA and insinuates herself into the life of an Instagram star.