Film Review: Ingrid Goes West (2017)

2017 in Cinema:

Ingrid Goes West, 2017

Directed by: Matt Spicer

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, Billy Magnussen, Wyatt Russell, Pom Klementieff, O’Shea Jackson, Jr.

 

After Ingrid’s (Aubrey Plaza) “friendship” with a girl ends, she soon discovers an Instagram celebrity, Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) and sets out to California where she forces an encounter and befriends Taylor. Ingrid, however, soon becomes obsessed with Taylor, and her mental instability soon comes out through jealousy and anger.

This film is actually better than I thought it would be. A lot of the mental instability in Ingrid is subtle, and their friendship grows naturally (despite being forced on Ingrid’s part) and at a decent pace but Ingrid is always cautious and observant to ensure the friendship continues. It’s a subtle trait in her, shown by a few facial expressions from time-to-time, and a lot of the dialogue helps this along, and I personally really enjoyed that. It also has quite a number of comedic moments, mainly from Ingrid’s sort-of love-interest, Dan (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.), as he’s a major fan of the Batman character, so having them enact Batman-themed sex games and his constant mentioning of Batman-related characters was a nice contrast to Ingrid’s serious and possibly sinister attitude.

And one thing I loved was its ending: initially I wasn’t a big fan because of the over-dramatic nature of it, but the more I thought about it the more its open-ending is brilliant. It beautifully leaves us with a happy ending scenario, but with a major possibility that after all of Ingrid’s trials and tribulations in seeking a friend, it can all happen once again (as it has happened in the past). It’s also a beautiful indictment of the 21st century, with Ingrid simply spotting this girl then by use of her Instagram account alone manages to construct the entire life of Taylor, from her favourite books to her favourite restaurants, and uses Instagram often enough to keep tabs on where Taylor is at any given time. There’s even a line of dialogue from Nicky (Billy Magnussen), Taylor’s brother, when talking to Ingrid about how much you can learn from a person through their phone, as he learns about Ingrid in a similar way she learned about Taylor.

However, him ending up on her phone was the biggest issue with this film. Him spotting it and the subsequent actions were fine, but there’s a majorly missed moment in this film which would have helped it all. Early on Ingrid comments on Taylor’s Instagram picture and Taylor responds; Ingrid soon changes her Instagram account name (from Ingrid.Thorburn to IngridGoesWest) and that comment is never mentioned again. The film nicely kept Ingrid’s surname quiet from Taylor until a moment at a night club where she gave her full name. There Taylor gave a look of almost recognition, as surely it’s not that much of a common name so she shouldn’t have many fans with it, and I was hoping it would be this which led to suspicions of Ingrid’s character, but it was soon forgotten about.

And there are parts of this film which are a bit over the top in terms of dramatising the moment, but Ingrid’s character was shown to be crazy enough that they did pass for a borderline logical path progression. Overall, though, it was a highly entertaining film with a craziness subtleness you don’t see too often with its lead character. It blended this stalker, the celebrity lifestyle and the products 21st century in a nice mixture of comedy and drama with a smooth pacing throughout.

 

Plot: * * *

Acting: * * *

Writing: * * * *

Presentation: * * * *

Overall Rating: * * * ½

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