Ingrid Goes West is the Millennial Generation

ingrid goes west3star“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea. Hashtag, California.”

When I try to understand the emotional complexities of social media, this quote from IndieWire hits the nail on the head:

“No one is as happy as they seem on Instagram, as depressed as they seem on Twitter, or as insufferable as they seem on Facebook.”

Ingrid Goes West dives face first into Single White Female territory with a splash of Desperately Seeking Susan for the millennial generation. Sadly, this Insta-stalking satire deserves a grittier and deeper look into what it’s dissecting.

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Ingrid Goes West
“As Vonnegut once wrote: ‘We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.’ That guy died three years before Instagram was even invented, but he had more to say about it than Matt Spicer  does in his banal but enjoyably brash debut feature, Ingrid Goes West.” via IndieWire

Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker who moves to Los Angeles to pursue a friendship with her Instagram idol Taylor Sloane (Lizzie Olsen).

With the recent passing of her mother, Ingrid inherits $60,000 which affords and triggers her transformation and move to California to become a Taylor Sloane clone. From mimicking her style to her eating habits to reading her favorite literature, Ingrid is determined to “accidentally” become the new best friend of Taylor Sloane…and her persistence actually creepily works.

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Ingrid Goes West is pure entertainment and a chuckling satire of today’s selfie saturated generation. In a world where the amount of “likes” determines your online persona’s popularity, Ingrid is all of us. But, what the movie laughs its way through (instead of digging deeper into) is how mentally disturbed Ingrid is as a person. The movie gets a little confused as to what exactly it wants to be…a comedy…a drama…something light…something a bit dark? It doesn’t know, and the final act of the movie proves that. Both Ingrid and Taylor are equally troubled individuals, but the movie only gives us a glimpse into their psychotic mentalities instead of diving into the deep end of these two technology-obsessed millenials.

“Contrary to what the filmmakers think, watching Ingrid indulge her illness is not funny. Occasionally, Plaza’s natural gifts as a physical comedienne shine through, but mostly it’s like watching a psychological train wreck and being expected to laugh at the carnage.” via PopMatters

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What rescues this film from being a total predictable disaster are the performances by Plaza, Olsen and Jackson. While they carry the film with their sharp, on-point dialogue, it’s the script that falls off track. But, the troupe works with what they’ve got, and I can at least say I was entertained the entire ride.

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These complaints aren’t to say I didn’t enjoy the movie (or deter you from seeing it), but what I wanted to see more was The Bling Ring meets Young Adult in a sense. Handle the obsession with social media accordingly but acknowledge the demons along the way.

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10 Comments

  1. I am quite eager to see this film. The trailer showed it off as kind of a comedy but it also seemed like it didn’t know what exactly it wanted to be. I love Aubrey Plaza though and I loved to hear its commentary, whether explicit or implicit, on the millennial generation.

  2. I liked this one a bit more than you did, I don’t think the film was trying to be a comedy at all though. The only person who brought any humor to it was O’Shea Jackson’s character, but I didn’t feel as if the film was asking me to laugh at Ingrid. I was incredibly uncomfortable watching her.

  3. Interesting review. This film is at the very top of my list of films to see. As it concerns social media and its consequences, and it has Elisabeth Olsen in it, I just cannot pass it by.

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