Ingrid Goes West
In the age of today, it’s hard to not see someone on his or her phone. The social media craze is upon us, and the worst part is that only a few of us see it as a problem. Now while I’m not condemning the advancement of technology, I am concerned about the addiction that certain applications have created. In the world of film and television, this problem has been addressed faintly, with only real success coming from the show Black Mirror. However, a new independent film has been able to capture this new tech addiction in a similar way.
Ingrid Goes West is the story of Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza), an Instagram-obsessed girl living in the suburban US, who becomes obsessed with an Instagram model named Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen). When Ingrid’s mother dies, she takes the inherited money and moves to LA, copying Taylor’s life and hoping to bump into her same social circles.
First time director Matt Spicer is able to frame his story with a certain realistic tone during at least half of the film. In fact, the sad thing is probably that many millennials watching the film, won’t see the message coming across to them; the images of everyone at bars glued to their phones, or choosing a meal based on the look it will have on Instagram rather than your actual appetite will go unnoticed. This subtlety was delicious for those of us who live observing the phone addicts. And it was a new take on the addiction that what Black Mirror did.
However, Spicer probably felt that he had an obligation to show the gravity of the situation to the phone addicts in the audience (that’s if they’re watching the movie at all instead of staring at their personal screens). This switch of tone, a little more than half-way through the film, turns the story into a fable, but unfortunately the transition is not necessarily a smooth one, and you feel like Spicer ends up biting off more than he can chew, making the story spin out of control at its finale.
But that’s not to say the film doesn’t get its message across, certainly many audience members will be reluctant to unmute their phones after the movie. Just like Richard Linklater’s films show the pleasures of interacting with human beings and being in the moment, Ingrid Goes West shows you the consequences of living life through a screen.