an INGRID GOES WEST musing

 Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza.

Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza.

INGRID GOES WEST takes the dual-life story told so many times and puts the spotlight on Instagram and social media culture. Bright, saturated Instagram filters are applied to the iPhone screens bordered by blinding white bars, while real life is a drab, dull gray. Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza), shortly after a stint in a mental institution and the death of her mother, decides to move to LA to follow, literally and figuratively, her favorite Instagram influencer, Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). Her obsession, which originally resulted in Ingrid’s institution stay, leads her down another dark, crazy path.

Thinking that social media likes validates someone as a person, Ingrid lacks many basic human connections in her life. She moves to LA simply because Taylor replies to a comment Ingrid left on one of her photos. The audience learns to love and hate her, since we can all relate to wanting to feel loved or accepted, especially with someone “famous”; but she also makes extremely maddening decisions and get increasingly uncomfortable. The director and Plaza handle the material with such great insight and emotional connection that her choices are more happily frustrating, rather than making her an absolutely despicable character. The whole cast does a great job with their respective material, while the script handles the turns and shifting sympathies between scenes quite handily and with so much ease.

The movie uses the duality and culture of worship and likes to comment on the authenticity of Instagram users and influencers via a character dramedy, which limits the extent to which they can truly skewer that culture. Aubrey Plaza is already on her way to being an A-lister, Elizabeth Olsen (coming off of WIND RIVER) continues to impress, and the movie comes together to be one heck of a time, a snapshot/selfie of today’s social media culture.

RATING: BEST OF THE BEST

(Refer to my rating system HERE!)