In her strongest performance yet, Aubrey Plaza portrays Ingrid with such raw vulnerability, that it feels you are peering into someone’s personal, but truly relatable space. Evocative of picture scrolling through sleepless nights, or the mild happiness that overcomes you when someone you follow replies to a comment. Social media continues to remind us of our very existence, but the ramifications of needing that hasn’t been shown in a fresh way… that is, until now. So at this juncture, let the cringe-worthy dark comedy, Ingrid Goes West slide into your DM’s.
Ingrid is a quiet woman who uses Instagram as an escape from her mother’s death and the emptiness left in it’s place. In the first few minutes of the film, Ingrid pepper sprays a bride at her wedding for not being invited even though they’ve never met in real life. Her mental instability becomes even more evident when Ingrid takes her inheritance and moves to California, in order to get closer to a certified instagram “lifestyle” brand ambassador named Taylor. This character, played by Elizabeth Olsen, is recognized for her postings which range from health foods to her nauseatingly perfect marriage to Ezra (Wyatt Russell).
Things only get stranger when Ingrid kidnaps Taylor’s dog and upon returning it, embarks on what becomes an apparent unhealthy relationship. While confusing friendship with fakeness, the duo take peace sign photos, ignore obvious marital problems, buy shit-art, and meet people who use #hashtags to defy who they are. In the midst of the adventure, Ingrid also uses her landlord and Batman nerd. Dan (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) as a fake boyfriend. Throughout the bogus relationship that ensues, Dan’s feelings are vehemently neglected as she perpetually climbs the ladder to “social authenticity”. However, things come to a striking halt once Taylor’s narcissistic brother, Nicky (Billy Magnussen) shows up and turns everything into the heaping pile of poo emoji.
Taylor, for as long as we know her, has been accustomed to social media stardom that’s provided income and much gratification. So at the end of the film, when Ingrid posts her suicide video, but survives, she finally receives the fame and acknowledgement that Taylor has bathed in on a daily basis. The only difference is that Ingrid received such with honesty and admitting to not only herself, but to the world, she is far from an okay person. The feeling you then endure is of unease, realizing that death is something as a society we feel should be shared and bookmarked on an app. As much as Taylor pity’s Ingrid in the end, they aren’t as dissimilar as she may think. Some would even argue they are essentially the same- doing whatever it takes for that certified blue check mark on their profile.
Contributed By Amanda Nova