Film Review: Ingrid Goes West

Director Matt Spicer’s feature debut Ingrid Goes West is a well-written comedy. The film is very contemporary and a lot of fun.

Ingrid Thorburn has a history of mistaking social media interactions for real friendship. When Ingrid moves to Los Angeles, she attempts to ingratiate herself into the life of rising social media star Taylor Sloane…

With Ingrid Goes West, Writer-director Matt Spicer and co-writer David Branson Smith tackle the modern phenomena of social media stars and how much of their lives are depicted online. Ingrid is the perfect protagonist to enter this world. In the opening sequence her backstory is succinctly established. She is a well crafted character; unhinged and awkward, and very sympathetic.

Spicer and Smith’s screenplay is peppered with wit. There is a lot of funny dialogue throughout. In the second half of the film, the subject dictates that the tone becomes more serious. This sift in tone works, thanks to the writing and direction. Notwithstanding, jokes are never too far away. The set up of the film works well; the narration of social media captions provides many laughs. The writers are sometimes biting when tackling modern fads. This is also a great cause of laughs. The film gives a negative impression of social media, but only in its extreme forms.

Characters in Ingrid Goes West are well written, even supporting characters such as Dan and Ezra are fleshed out and given believable personalities. Ingrid and Taylor take centre stage, and they are both flawed and convincing. The narrative is a bit predictable, but this does not take away from overall enjoyment of the film. Aubrey Plaza delivers a great performance as protagonist Ingrid. Elizabeth Olsen and O’Shea Jackson Jr. are also gold in their roles.

Ingrid Goes West is a very contemporary, satirising view of online connections. Matt Spicer has created a highly amusing film.

Ingrid Goes West is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017.