Plot: After an obsession led to violence, Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) found herself in a mental health clinic to recover and decompress. Even after she was released however, her mind is focused on her obsession, though she plans to move to California soon, for a fresh start and to put the past behind her. But she still writes to her old obsession, even after a new focus starts to materialize. As she settles into her new life, flush with cash from her dead mother’s estate, Ingrid zeroes in social media darling Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), who she soon transfers her obsession onto. After some minor interactions on Instagram, Ingrid plans to kidnap Taylor’s dog, then use the return of the animal to create a way to be part of her life. The idea sounds crazy, but it works, Taylor is so grateful and Ingrid plays earnest do-gooder, which results in Taylor giving her attention and including her in some social activities. But as she gets closer to Taylor and her obsession grows, will this fixation take the same dark turns as the last one, or will things go in even more bizarre directions this time around?
Entertainment Value: A dark comedy that explores the false reality of social media, Ingrid Goes West had to cut close to the nerve for those who find themselves feeling like a friend to social media influencers. The movie paints an interesting dynamic, with an obsessed stalker on one end and an utterly fake, exploitative poseur on the other, quite a fresh take. This one doesn’t let Ingrid off free and clear, but it is also scathing toward the way Taylor fosters these fake relationships, in an effort to build her brand and use her followers as ad fodder. The movie keeps the tone somewhat grounded, which had to be difficult, given the rampant narcissism of these characters, but it is laced with dark humor to keep the edges sharp. Aubrey Plaza is fantastic here as the delusional Ingrid, letting that desperation seep through her every mannerism, while Elizabeth Olsen nails the hollow, exploitative social media influencer role. The two work well together as well, especially once the veneer starts to peel off both characters, leading to some less than ideal situations. The cast overall is quite good, tanked only by Billy Magnussen, who is so over the top and forced, it dampens all of his scenes. This is such a smart, well written movie, so his cringe worthy performance really stands out as the main negative part of the movie. Otherwise, Ingrid Goes West is a fun, dark take on the vapid nature of social media that offers solid entertainment.
No nakedness. A hot, but awkward Batman inspired sexual roleplay session is shown, but no naked flesh is showcased. Some mild in a poorly executed kidnap scheme, but no real blood aside from brief looks at the aftermath. No graphic violence or bloodshed, just a little red stuff so we know someone was injured. The dialogue is well written, but it doesn’t land many big, quotable lines. A lot of funny moments to be sure, as well as some awkward situations, but not a wealth of memorable ones. This is due in part to Ingrid being more of a subtle kind of imbalanced, whereas most movies would unload the drama and open dysfunction. But despite the low score, this does have skilled writing, just not the kind of melodrama or wildness we look for here. Ingrid is a ball of unstable craziness, but as I said, the movie takes a calmer approach with her, at least until she fully unravels. So yes, the movie has creepy vibes, both from Ingrid and Taylor, but it never feels off the rails or out of control. This will be good for some, who prefer a more grounded spin, but a let down for those who appreciate high melodrama and bad ass stalker types. But Ingrid Goes West has enough awkward and unstable moments to earn a couple points, I think.
Overall Insanity: 2/10