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MOVIE REVIEW: "Ingrid Goes West"

NEON
"Ingrid Goes West" stars O'Shea Jackson Jr., Aubrey Plaza, and Elizabeth Olsen.
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Movies centered around millennial concepts can usually come across cringe-worthy, preachy and out-of-touch (Men, Women & Children, Disconnect) or treat characters like anamorphic zombies that are chained to their phones while using obnoxious slang rarely heard this side of the internet. Positioning your film around a community that actively uses social media is hard to do without it coming across as patronizing. This might be the Fincher fanboy speaking, but The Social Network seems to be the only truly excellent film to come out since the universal push of social media to get it completely accurate.

Writer-director Matt Spicer’s new Neon distributed film, Ingrid Goes West, accurately tackles social media along with subsequent obsession, and mental illness. No fist shaking from a director that doesn’t understand the current generation, no allegory-ridden science-fiction tales displaying the evils from technology; just an honest and often times hilarious tale of obsession from a desire to be loved. Think Single White Female but with more Instagram likes and hashtags.

Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is recently released from an insane asylum with $50k from her dead mother’s inheritance in a backpack. She became padded room status from macing a woman she had a one-sided friendship with after she liked one of her pictures and didn’t reciprocate her appreciation. Fixating on Instagram pictures didn’t end there, double taps on a screen shine off of Ingrid's tear-soaked face as she spends all day living vicariously through everyone else’s lives. She seeks to be famous online. No, just noticed online. The fond sight of a liked picture for her is enough to hit a spike in her self-esteem. She wants to be loved. Or just feel less like a loser.

Ingrid comes across a social media tastemaker named Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). Ingrid receives a meaningless response to one of her various comments and takes this as a way to move to California and conveniently try to bump into Taylor and become best friends. Through various forms of stalking, Ingrid and Taylor spark a friendship, but how long until Ingrid’s false face falls?

Everyone in her sociopathic way is used without a second thought because everything is for the greater good: being Insta-famous. Her landlord (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) hilariously suspects she isn't just any other cute drifter.

Jackson Jr. shows he can do more than just impersonate his father in Straight Outta Compton, he is hilarious and I hope he gets more roles because of this.

Plaza's skittish personality is a too perfect for the screenplay. Flipping between gorgeous but restrained to frightening and lost. It's a very light-hearted, but firm movie. Mental health, obsession and suicide are humorously dealt with. That’s my main problem with it: it’s too humorous. Plaza could have really delivered a more emotional performance in the third act, but the film’s moments of pseudo seriousness don’t feel authentically done. It goes south when the bright cinematography wipes away to reveal a tale of obsession and deception as old as time.

I was told the ending is "problematic" because it could confuse easily led automatons to do harmful things that could possibly equal fame. I didn’t get that read from the film whatsoever. Ingrid Goes Wild actually conveys that in today’s age, there’s an audience for everyone. No matter how damaged, weird or isolated you feel, you aren’t far from those that need someone to embrace just like you. Embellishing your existence like Ingrid thinks is successful is almost the path to destruction and unfulfillment.

Ingrid Goes West is a slightly above-average film with great chemistry and really funny moments courtesy of Plaza and Jackson Jr. Neon Films is trying to make genre films be more readily available and I'm glad they are. It was a good movie and I'd rather watch 100 more versions of it — taking a topic of obsession and putting a new-age twist on it — than more bland remakes and reboots.

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About the Author

Kevin Tudor

Born and raised in the mean streets of Yukon, Oklahoma, Kevin is currently majoring in...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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