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Review: Ingrid Goes West

Poster for Neon's INGRID GOES WEST

Movies that are unheard of or don’t get much fanfare ahead of time are often the movies that are great to watch. I know that films like that don’t usually get distribution from larger studios, so they end up coming from places that are willing to take a few more risks with their projects. That’s where a movie like Ingrid Goes West finds itself. It’s the kind of feature film with very little marketing to push it, but it’s also a great picture that will reward the viewers who get around to seeing it.

After the death of her mother and a few other personal setbacks, Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is looking to rebuild her life. To do this, she decides to move out west once she discovers another young woman named Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) on Instagram. Son the surface, Sloane is everything that Ingrid wants to be and the two form an unlikely bond as friends at first. However, once the facade begins to fade away, both women begin to understand out that looks are often deceiving in a world dominated by Photoshop and altered imagery.

Ingrid Goes West is a study on today’s social media obsessed society that doesn’t simply look at one of the many aspects that come with it. It analyzes it and goes deep into the psychological aspects of what makes the internet so dangerous and comforting to the anonymous souls who live to terrorize people in one way or another. Of course, the major difference between this and the real world is that the masks these people create come off as the characters have to reveal themselves.

In terms of the characters, Aubrey Plaza is fantastic as Ingrid. I don’t know if she has much range outside of this style of acting, but what she does fits as appropriately as you could hope for when selecting actors. Her in this role is perfect as she plays this believable character set in this insane world driven by social media and obsession. While this could be kind of a scary movie to some degree, it also manages to be very comedic. So casting someone like this in the role Plaza plays to carry it is vital to the film’s success.

The selection of the cast overall was spot on in general. If you tried, I doubt you could find too many actors that fit their roles as well as the people in this movie do. This not only makes the movie better, it goes to show how important casting can be. That’s especially true when talking about such nuanced characters with defined characteristics that need to have personalities and habits presented in a way that’s understandable and precise without feeling as if it’s all being spelled out for you.

While giving credit to the cast is a must, credit also has to be given to the creators behind it. For a movie that’s about unbalanced and deceptive people, Ingrid Goes West is extremely balanced and well made. As you watch, you’ll notice that everything makes sense, everything has a purpose and everyone has a chance to show us who they are. That’s usually seemingly difficult, but the creators behind this do an exceptional job in accomplishing that.

A part of me believes the reason behind this is because it’s the first film for both Matt Spicer (writer/director) and David Branson Smith (writer). In some weird way, I feel that being first-timers makes people want to pay attention to every detail, so I’m not completely shocked by this film being made in such a way. Anyway, for someone like me, I certainly appreciate what happens when filmmakers are able to do that. It makes it easier to follow and doesn’t leave as many questions in your head after you finish watching.

I went into Ingrid Goes West with no expectations and came out thinking that it may be one of the better movies of the year. I saw it months before it was released and I still feel the same as I’m writing this. Hopefully, more people see it as time goes by, because it certainly deserves an audience that can be open and willing to understand all of these messages that are being broadcasted to them.

Rating: R

Director: Matt Spicer

Aubrey Plaza
Elizabeth Olsen
O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Wyatt Russell
Billy Magnussen

Film Length: 97 minutes

Release Date: August 25, 2017

Distributor: Neon

  • Score - 8/10
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