Review: Ingrid Goes West

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: Fresh off a stay in a mental hospital, Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza), a dangerously unhinged social media addict, moves to Los Angeles in order to embed herself in the life of her favorite online personality (Elizabeth Olsen).

REVIEW: INGRID GOES WEST feels very much like a companion piece to the “Black Mirror” episode, “Nosedive.” While that warned us about what could happen to society if the influence of social media goes unchecked, this film is very much a tale of the here and now, with Aubrey Plaza’s deranged online stalker a familiar figure. Stalkers are nothing new, but the internet has made it much easier for them to insinuate themselves into their target’s lives, as very little is actually private anymore. Everyone is suddenly accessible, from your favorite blogger, to the Insta-famous types like the Kardashian’s, to your favorite movie stars, and even the President of the United States – who’s as addicted to social media as any of us.

All of this makes INGRID GOES WEST a timely tale, and an ideal star vehicle for Plaza. Always a unique, somewhat aloof presence, Plaza really embraces the dark side here, with the very first scene following her as she maces an online acquaintance who didn’t put her on her wedding guest list. She’s not the least bit sympathetic, as she connives her way into the Insta-famous Taylor’s (Elizabeth Olsen) sphere, by following her around and eventually kidnapping her dog, so she can ingratiate herself by returning him.

All of this could have made it a challenge to sit through, but Plaza’s fascinating to watch – I doubt she’s ever been better. It helps that the movie moves along at a quick clip, with director Matt Spicer making this a fast-paced ride with some really nice L.A location shooting that evokes the place and it’s hipster culture well. Olsen makes Taylor relatively sympathetic, even if she’s ultimately vacuous and a social climber, making and ditching friends with little to no regard for them. Wyatt Russell also makes an impression as her hipster artist husband, who’s quickly coming to realize his lifestyle isn’t sustainable, while Billy Magnussen plays Taylor’s coke-addled brother, who kicks off a more chaotic twist that plunges the film into even darker territory.

Of everyone, the most sympathetic and likable figure turns out to be O’Shea Jackson Jr., as Ingrid’s love struck landlord. It’s a great change of pace from his performance as his father Ice Cube in STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, with him believable as the nice-guy fan boy (obsessed with Batman – or more specifically – BATMAN FOREVER) who you keep hoping will pick up on the fact that Ingrid’s a sociopath and get far away from her.

Through it all, INGRID GOES WEST, despite the scary subject matter, is a fun movie to watch with a good sense of humor, a difficult balance to pull off, given that you’re supposed to cringe as much as laugh. It’s like a lighter, hipster cousin to ONE HOUR PHOTO, even though, in its own time, it becomes just as disturbing. If anything, people will walk out of this one and change their social media profiles to private, as if this isn’t a cautionary tale, I dunno what is.


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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.