‘Ingrid Goes West’ looks at social media’s dark side
Quick, what’s more important: social media or real life?
For the title character in “Ingrid Goes West ,” there is no question, and perhaps no distinction.
Powered by Aubrey Plaza’s searing performance, director and co-writer Matt Spicer’s feature debut explores such a dark side of social media obsession, it’s hard to consider it satire. It’s a story about young women who find validation in likes and followers, who equate social media experiences with real-life ones.
Like so many millennials, Ingrid (Plaza) is an Insta- gram junkie. Her phone is always in hand, a portal to all that is #perfect and #blessed. Any free moment is spent scrolling through photos. The double-thumb-tap she uses to “like” images is as instinctive as blinking.
But she’s also obsessive and mentally unstable. She once crashed a wedding and attacked the bride after fixating on her expertly curated Instagram profile.
Flush with cash after her mother dies, Ingrid moves to Los Angeles to be near her latest social media obsession: Blonde, beautiful Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), whose life on Instagram looks like a chic California magazine captioned with literary quotes and hashtags like #weekendvibes.
Ingrid styles her hair like Taylor’s. She eats at her favorite breakfast spot. She buys the purse Taylor posted about. Then she works out a way to meet the Instagram star so they can be friends.
Olsen is pitch perfect as sunny, superficial Taylor, who says everything is “the best” and has no qualms about asking a gas station attendant to lay on the ground to snap a perfectlyframed social media pic.
The screenplay by Spicer and co-writer David Branson Smith looks at how Taylor’s appetite for admiration might allow for a friend like Ingrid — her sycophantic fawning feeds right into Taylor’s million-follower ego.