SOCIAL MEDIA is taking over the world. I remember a time when it was all about connecting with your friends. These days, we go on social networks for news, videos and to follow famous people. We have a persistent urge to check Facebook, Instagram and tweet. That’s why Ingrid Goes West a.k.a First World Problems, couldn’t be more timely. It’s a dark comedy that takes a look at social media obsession. Try putting your phone away when you watch this!
The title character, Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is a social media stalker and has spent time in a psychiatric facility. When she becomes obsessed with Instagram celebrity Taylor Sloan (Elizabeth Olsen), she moves to LA to track down her new “best friend”. Ingrid rents a house from screenwriter Dan (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and manages to elbow her way into Taylor’s social circle.
Ingrid wants to be cool and happy, like Taylor, so she starts copying her style and interests. She tries to mimic the “perfect” life that Taylor portrays on her Instagram page. But the question is: how long can Ingrid maintain the facade before all hell breaks loose?
A lot of us have a little bit of Ingrid in us. I’m not saying we’re all psychos, but many people copy the habits of people they idolise. So many people are lying for no reason. Ingrid Goes West is very clever in how it comments on these problems. For example, Taylor pretends she likes certain books, as if anyone cares what she reads. She’s just as warped as Ingrid but in a different kind of way. The film looks at the good and bad in both characters, without portraying either of these women as a villain.
There are many laughs in this film, but there’s also a lot of heavy drama. The balance between the two is spot on, making for great entertainment. The film doesn’t go for the “kids these days!” angle, refusing to condemn an entire generation. It’s more of a satire on modern life and how people get so caught up in pointless things.
For the most part, Ingrid Goes West is very funny, but it does lose track of itself towards the end. It gets a little lost when it introduces Taylor’s brother Nicky (Billy Magnussen), and it struggles to decide on the overall message it wants to articulate about social media.
The film is at its best when it pokes fun at how people create fake personas online. It’s very observant, but I wanted to see a more probing insight into the act of using social media. But what you get is a black comedy all the way to its final scenes.
Ingrid Goes West is a clever take on the stalker movie. Although it stumbles over itself in its last stretch, it’s an enjoyable flick that leaves us wanting more. It’s well worth your time. I give it a big fat ‘like’.
Director: Matt Spicer
Writers: David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer
Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Pom Klementieff
Run Time: 98 min.