“Ingrid Goes West” is a comedy-drama starring Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza.
It revolves around obsession and the dangers of social media, and at the festival it was billed as a comedy. However, to my surprise it was a rather difficult film to watch as the main character is damaged – verging on deranged – and her behaviour is rarely amusing. Her fixation with internet mogul Taylor Sloane (Olsen) is more unsettling than it is comical, and I didn’t laugh once.
Ingrid is a mentally-ill woman who invades the life of a more successful person in order to live vicariously through her. This could be played for comedic effect with the right script, but it never feels as though that’s what director Matt Spicer wanted from the movie.
Instead, the bulk of “Ingrid Goes West” conveys the message that behind the façade Taylor is just as empty and self-conscious as Ingrid. Again there’s a way to make this work, and the fact that the focus is on drama rather than comedy isn’t a criticism in itself, but the relationship between Ingrid and Taylor isn’t developed enough to engage the audience in their dynamic.
If Spicer had worked harder to make Ingrid likeable then “Ingrid Goes West” would’ve been monumentally better, particularly because the moral dilemma of the film required Ingrid to be at least minimally relatable. Unfortunately, the reality is that none of the characters in this movie are multidimensional, the story is predictable, and the concept of tone is essentially non-existent.
I respect the fact that Spicer wanted to tell a story about a woman who was so infatuated by the idea of celebrity that she lost her sense of self, and I understand that the narrative was designed to beat the audience over the head with the idea that social media can be perilous, but the execution was poor and the end product was monotonous.