Ingrid Goes West Review: Predictability: The Movie
Ingrid Goes West tells the story of the mentally ill Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) as she ends one stalking friendship and moves cross country to Los Angeles to involve herself in another. Slowly infiltrating herself into the life of her newest Instagram obsession, Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen), she blows through the money she was left by her deceased mother. Through a series of seemingly crazy actions, she manages to get into the “best friend zone” with Taylor very quickly. Things begin to unravel once Taylor’s brother, Nicky (Billy Magnussen) begins to suspect Ingrid’s motives and digs a little deeper.
The problem with Ingrid Goes West is that it is a terribly predictable film with nothing new to add to an already over saturated “let’s make fun of the social media obsessed” film genre. The film ventures to poke fun at anything and everything from foodies, Instagram whores, the fallacy of online created friendships and personas and the typical LA clichés. The problem is that it says nothing more. It presents it in a way as if to say “look, this is ridiculous and funny,” but never presents another alternative opinion or observation to make the film more than just a 95-minute bashing fest.
The performances in Ingrid Goes West do well enough but also don’t inspire anything from the audience. Aubrey Plaza gives a decent performance as Ingrid but doesn’t really go deeply into the corners of insanity that a character like Ingrid has. Extremely emotional scenes get little to no response from the audience. One could argue that it is part of the whole film, that everything and everyone is superficial in every way, but I don’t know if that’s true. My favorite performance by far is O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Dan Pinto. His character was very general, but there was something about his performance that made me smile.
The level of predictability in the film is by far the most damaging. In a film where the main character is mentally unstable, we should be able to feel that instability in her actions, yet they are predictable and foreseeable from the very beginning. The end of the film is no new revelation, and I would say more damaging to those with mental illness than anything else. Sending the message that the end of the film conveys is reckless. The whole film is spent reiterating the negative impact that these unhealthy obsessions have on people only to glorify it in the end. Not that I feel every filmmaker and human being is responsible for making mental health conscious media, I think that a film that focuses so much on social media and the mental health of a character should be more sensitive than it is. The look, feel, and aesthetic of Ingrid Goes West appeals to that younger media obsessed generation; one that contains many fragile young people who may not see the social commentary or satire in the film.
All in all, Ingrid Goes West was a predictable film with lots of bright colors and filters. With the potential to make a great commentary on our dependence on technology and social media, it takes a dull route with little to entertain us along the way.