Thursday, August 31, 2017

[Review] Ingrid Goes West

Get your hashtags and emojis ready for Ingrid Goes West. Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen star in this California dreamin' escapade of social media age antics and web celeb obsession.

Meet Ingrid (Plaza), a disturbed and obsessive loner who falls asleep with her smartphone in her arms every night. One day while perusing Instagram, she latches onto Taylor Sloane (Olsen), a social medialite with a huge following. It's not long before Ingrid becomes so infatuated that she packs up and moves to L.A. to seek out and befriend Taylor. Let's just say things get weird.

It's scandalously fascinating to watch this all unfold, with all its shit-hitting-the-fan and flipping of the scripts. Director Matt Spicer and his co-writer David Branson Smith have a firm grasp on the online zeitgeist. And for a film all about vanity and surface-level idolization, it's fitting that all its interpersonal ugliness and societal observation is so beautifully shot. This is a very pretty looking film. From its vibrant colors, to its sunset lighting, to its carefully picked wardrobes--it's practically a moving postcard. A postcard with a lot of baggage beneath it all.

The film can also be taken as a dark character study, as Ingrid blows way past the lines of stalkerism and living vicariously. And as creepy and pathetic as she gets, she remains a sympathetic figure. Tragic, even. Aubrey Plaza, who has been in a few stinkers lately (*cough* Dirty Grandpa), is perfectly cast here--fully sinking into her awkward, offbeat and unhinged element. Elizabeth Olsen is great too, impeccably playing the role of holistic-chic valley girl with a hashtag #perfect life. O'Shea Jackson Jr. (yes, Ice Cube's son) even shows up as an amusing landlord and hardcore Batman fanboy.

Ingrid Goes West is wild, thoroughly entertaining, and rich in substance. And actually, the film's inclusion of "All My Life" by K-Ci & JoJo alone was enough to get my click of approval.

* 8.5/10 *

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