31 Days, 31 Movies 12/2: Ingrid Goes West
It is just a coincidence that the first two movies are about crazy or potentially crazy women. I promise, this isn’t going to become a theme. Ingrid Goes West was just one of those movies that got really unlucky in a pretty packed movie year (despite what all the cinema nihilists will have you believe). It came out a week after The Dark Tower which I really wanted to see because of Idris–and I still don’t regret that decision, fuck you Rotten Tomatoes. And it came out the week before Logan Lucky and The Hitman’s Bodyguard both of which were great. But I did want to see this movie before the year was out.
I picked this movie because I thought it would probably less stressful than Detroit on this late Saturday night. I was wrong. I found myself on at least a dozen occasions during the movie skipping 30 seconds ahead when I couldn’t take the sheer awkwardness of Ingrid anymore only to jump a minute back when I remembered that’s not how you can watch movies. The performances from top to bottom are pretty fantastic but it does still suffer from the same problem of all movies and TV shows about millennial caricatures in that there is a dearth of likable characters. Thank fuck for O’She Jackson Jr. who comes off of playing his father in Straight Outta Compton to play lovable blerd Dan Pinto who is abused by all crazy white folk for the whole movie. But it is Audrey Plaza who steals the show. I don’t think anyone does dark humor as well as Plaza and thus Ingrid is the perfect role for her. Ingrid Goes West balances laugh out loud funny moments with a poignant story about the troubles of our social media society.
Ingrid becomes obsessed with the Instagram personality of Taylor Sloane, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and takes social stalking to a whole new level turning herself into who she thinks Taylor would want to be friends with. I have issues with the way that the film ends narratively, it’s intentionally problematic morally. The ending feels so evident from minute one that when you finally get there the only shock is that Matt Spicer actually decided to go with it. But for the most part Spicer and his stellar cast manage to tell a pretty unrealistic story with a human touch. And there’s some weird batman-themed sex in there too if that’s your thing.
Darkly funny and well-acted and written Ingrid Goes West is a smart and clever movie that feels timely and topical. Aubrey Plaza continues to deliver star level performances and backed up by a surprisingly strong supporting cast the film manages to outstrip a predictable plot and unlikable cast of characters.