Ingrid Goes West - 2017
Ingrid Goes West is the directorial debut of Matt Spicer and he also served as a co-writer with David Branson Smith. Every decade has movies that perfectly encapsulate its generations and this one manages to capture the Instagram generation. Despite this being his debut, he still managed to get a great cast. The movies stars Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell and Billy Magnussen. The story centers around a social media stalker moving to LA trying to insert herself in the life of her Instagram idol.
Matt Spicer really impressed me in his feature length debut with the way he incorporated the use of Instagram as a stylistic choice that served both as a plot device and a visual stand-out. One of the aspects I loved about the movie was how it opened, as it set the tone for the rest of the movie. I was impressed in how quickly I bought into this world and understood the motivations of our protagonist.
Quick note: the writing, while not perfect, is still a stand-out in my eyes. They managed to create a dark comedy that balanced its humor with the dark moments beautifully. I just wish they stuck the landing a little bit better than they did. I’m a little worried how people will interpret that ending.
Jonathan Sadoff and Nick Thorburn where in charge of the musical score and had to keep up with the tone shifts of the movie. They found music to fit the upbeat and “happy” moments of the movie and perfectly shifted to music that accentuates the tension and dark tones when needed.
We all know that Aubrey Plaza can play a reclusive loner very well, making her mark in Parks and Rec. But as Ingrid she took it to another level. Plaza’s performance was so surreal that it made me a little uncomfortable, because you know people like her exist in the real world and could be one of your own “followers”. The opening scene had me hooked, as we watch her obsessed-looking and liking every single photo posted on Instagram by what she considers to be her best friend. With this performance, along with The Little Hours, Plaza has had a great 2017.
Ingrid Goes West is proof that O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Out of Compton) is not a one hit wonder and is an actor to look out for. He plays Dan Pinto, a screenwriter that rents an apartment to Plaza and eventually has a relationship with her. He is obsessed with Batman and is by far one of the most hilarious characters of the entire movie. He developed a great chemistry with Plaza and I truly bought into him having real feeling towards her character. SLIGHT SPOILER: They have a sex scene that made me laugh way too much.
With all that being said, where Ingrid Goes West really shines is the social commentary on the Instagram generation. They perfectly capture our obsession with both our phones and the happiness our “idols” showcase in their social media accounts. Nobody follows you on Instagram because you’re real, they follow you because you portray the perfect life they wish they had. The sad reality of this train of thought is that nobody is really as happy as their social media accounts portray, yet some people don’t realize this and measure their “normal lives” against this staged photographed life on Instagram. Hopefully some will walk away with a little insight on how empty a life measured by followers can be.
Ingrid Goes West is a great dark comedy, with a couple of solid performances. I look forward to seeing where Matt Spicer and O’Shea Jackson Jr. go from here. Extremely pointed social commentary told in a humorous way is why I love movies.
Ingrid Goes West is currently playing in theaters. Instagram me if you go.
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