CAPSULE: Ingrid is very good at using social media but very bad at keeping friends. Most of the Internet applications she uses were intended for what she uses them for. Ingrid decides on a clever but insidious campaign to make herself an Instagram celebrity at the expense of current web celebrity Taylor. Nominally this is a comedy but somehow the comedy of the story comes out very dark. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10
Ingrid Thorburn (played by Aubrey Plaza, who also co-produced the film) has severe psychological problems. She has anger issues and for which she is receiving therapy. But her stunts have lost her any friends she once had. After she ruins a former friend's wedding she decides that she must move away and start the social process over again. Los Angeles seems inviting, and she picks out an Internet celebrity whom she wants to make her friend. Ingrid has one thing going for her. She knows how to use the social media, and how to manipulate people with the information she can glean so easily from stalking on social media. The star she picks out is Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). Taylor has no idea how vulnerable she is to Ingrid's snooping and creative deceptions. Ingrid moves into Taylor's neighborhood and then is ready to pounce.
The film is directed by Matt Spicer, who co-wrote the screenplay with David Branson Smith. While the film is initially comedy as well as drama, as the film progresses the comedy (of which there never was a lot) diminishes and the tone goes darker and darker. Ingrid has the power to think fast and manipulates people with reality-bending stories and scams. She can think of what effect she wants and knows just the right lie to get the effect she wants. The subject of how to lie on the Internet to get results seems very opportune. But Plaza can at the same time show a very vulnerable side to Ingrid.
Plaza has a long list of credits going back to 2006 and it shows in her performance. When she is spinning plots in this film you feel that there really is a mind behind her actions. Elizabeth Olsen seems simpler than Plaza and seems a little bit vulnerable, which is just what the story calls for. While the message of the film is about how vulnerable people are on social media, Ingrid comes off as a little brighter than most Internet predators.
Films about the dangers inherent in social media are not exactly a rarity these days. This is a deceptively small and simple film, but it has a good deal to say about what abuses are possible and occurring in the social media. It should make you uneasy in places Stephen King cannot touch. I rate INGRID GOES WEST a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5962210/combined
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ingrid_goes_west
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper