Skip to main content

Cottonwood Heights Journal

Dan's Review: Few social lessons learned in "Ingrid Goes West"

Aug 28, 2017 10:48PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West - © 2017 Neon.

Ingrid Goes West (Neon)

Rated R for language throughout, drug use, some sexual content and disturbing behavior.

Starring Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen, Pom Klementieff, Hannah Utt, Joseph Breen, Angelica Amor, Meredith Hagner, Charlie Wright, Dennis Atlas.

Written by David Branson Smith and Matt Spicer.

Directed by Matt Spicer.



Is social media quickly becoming a social disease? To some, living outside of social media isn’t living at all, where nothing matters unless it shows up in your status feed. An unhealthy obsession with social media and the ersatz celebrity status that accompanies “likes” “retweets” and “taggings” are the subject of Ingrid Goes West, a dark comedy starring Aubrey Plaza as a social media stalker.

Plaza plays Ingrid, an unstable woman who does a stint in a Pennsylvania mental facility after attacking one of her Instagram “friends” who failed to invite her to her #Perfect wedding. After her stay in the psychiatric hospital and the death of her mother, Ingrid is left with a small fortune that she uses to pursue her latest social media obsession Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) in California. Ingrid rents an apartment from Dan (O’ Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Jr.), an aspiring screenplay writer who is obsessed with Batman. After doing a little clumsy detective work, Ingrid finds and stalks Taylor and her husband Ezra (Wyatt Russell), eventually becoming their friend by staging a rescue of their dog. Ingrid and Taylor begin to hang out and post their experiences on Instagram, raising her online stature. Things go well while the money lasts, and until Taylor’s mean-spirited brother Nicky (Billy Magnussen) shows up, quickly asserting Ingrid’s phony scheme. Ingrid also uses Dan to pose as her boyfriend to keep up the façade, until she is forced to take drastic measures to keep Taylor from the truth. Taylor eventually finds out the truth about Ingrid’s unhealthy obsession, sending Ingrid into a tailspin that ends with an attempted suicide, broadcast live on social media.

Ingrid Goes West offers a few laughs and a satirical jab at social media obsession in the extreme (probably more common than we’d like to admit). Aubrey Plaza’s nervous performance is funny at times, but more often than not conjures up feelings of pity and embarrassment instead of sympathy.  There is plenty of obvious signaling about the absurdity of living life through veil of social media going on in the movie, but the conclusion leaves our quasi-protagonist with no lessons learned. Perhaps we, the audience are missing the point as well, as we leave the theater checking our status feeds. Perhaps not ironically, Aubrey Plaza herself is currently sponsoring a social media contest to win a trip for you and your “BFF” to L.A. to have lunch with the movie star, in a post tagged with an #IngridGoesWest hashtag and two smiley-face-with-horns emojis.

Perhaps you can be a little “too” self aware.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to post this review to Facebook and Twitter. 

Otherwise it may not exist.

(wink emoji) 

Ingrid Goes Wast Trailer