Quick Hit: An ode to the dangers of social media.
I can’t think of a more poignant time to write this post than on the day of my most successful tweet ever (and yes, it’s still short of 300 likes). The constant notifications and confirmation that something you said is smart, or funny, or poignant, is like a straight shot of endorphins to the pleasure center of the brain. That is directly at the heart of Ingrid Goes West – the inability to leave social media, and to be someone completely different than yourself. Avocado toast on Instagram turns into greasy fast food in reality.
Aubrey Plaza stars as Ingrid, a depressive woman who has lost her mother and left with 60k. After a short visit to the insane asylum, she finds a new person on Instagram to idolize – Elizabeth Olsen’s Taylor Sloane. With each #blessed, Ingrid falls deeper and deeper into her obsession with Olsen, which leads to some dark humor as well as some really intense scenes of compulsions gone wrong.
I think the film is very well-written. The screenplay by David Branson Smith and director Matt Spicer highlights both the glories and the nastiness of social media. Discussions with an Instagrammer (I don’t have one myself – Twitter is my only social media) confirmed that Instagram was filled of pictures just like that. The humor hits hardest with the scenes featuring O’Shea Jackson Jr. His character is memorable, likeable, and generally the best character in the film. He’s the friend you want to have, and the dialogue - “Tell me Gotham needs me” – is one of the best reasons.
There’s also a large focus on the different faces that people put on social media versus who they actually are. I mentioned the food as an example, but we also have people who are spending money they don’t have, people creating stupid hipster art, and people that are continually bragging that they are better than they are. This social commentary is not only adept, but the way it is done – consistently using character’s voices to read their own captions – is really well done – especially considering I just watched Aubrey Plaza on a tv commercial where she takes a selfie.
Speaking of Plaza, she’s tremendous as Ingrid. You wouldn’t think that you could love her as the movie begins, but between her and O’Shea, it’s not tough to find who to root for quickly. Plaza, who frequently portrays women with no filter, is really good, because you can always feel Ingrid holding back. On the few times that she really lets go, it’s hilarious, and allows her strengths to shine. She also is really believable when allowed to get emotional – all in all, I thought she was tremendous.
I thought the movie was pretty good. There will be a few people that won’t like it, due to the dark humor, but I liked it. I’m giving it a “B”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"