Originally Published on Salty Popcorn
Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) has relationship issues. She’s a loner, often mistaking likes on social media for a meaningful friendship. Recent events in her life have pushed Ingrid to the brink of insanity, and she finds herself in need of a fresh start. All of her friends are gone. Her life is a mess, but a mess slowly in recovery. During her time off, when scrolling through the never-ending posts on social media, Ingrid discovers an LA-based Instagram celebrity named Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). Taylor lives the life Ingrid wishes she had. So, naturally, Ingrid moves to LA in the attempts of befriending her newly found inspiration.
INGRID GOES WEST is going to hit a lot of its audience hard. First time screenwriters David Branson Smith and Matt Spicer, who also directed the film, have a lot to say on the issues surrounding social media, and obsessions we develop because of it. It’s as dark as it is funny, all wrapped around a very modern, millennial-inspired storyline. Social media has its ups and downs, but it can bring with it serious problems, and INGRID GOES WEST takes these problems to extreme levels. The film is a commentary on so many things, and it’ll affect us all in different ways.
The more I’ve thought about this film, the better it becomes. It starts as almost a satire on the phone obsessed modern generation, and it’s fun. The first half of this movie doesn’t raise too many stakes, but instead deals with its central characters in a mature, often problematic way. It’s all about the build-up. Smith and Spicer provide a commentary on so many things, and it wouldn’t surprise me if elements of their characters feel reminiscent of people you know, or perhaps even yourself. I could relate to aspects of their personalities, and I imagine a lot of my generation could too. The build up introduces what this film is going to be about, and the second half tears it all to the ground.
Most LA-based films have an inherent beauty to them, and INGRID GOES WEST is no exception. Director Matt Spicer has crafted not only an important movie, but also one that looks gorgeous too. His camera-work has a lived-in roughness to it. It’s got vigor, and Spicer directs his actors to perfection. Scenes set at nighttime is where this film truly comes to life, and the combination of an original screenplay with his flourishing set direction makes for a brilliant movie. Spicer’s directorial debut is strong, to say the least, and he’s certainly a talent we need to keep an eye on.
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