I’ve always felt Aubrey Plaza out of place in the movies she’s been in. Her awkward brand of comedy is so jarring in the mainstream projects she takes on. But she’s never been more perfect for a role as she is in Ingrid Goes West.
The film opens up with Plaza’s character, Ingrid, going through some girl, Charlotte’s Instagram account. Ingrid sees that it’s her wedding and is, apparently, not invited. She decides to crash Charlotte’s wedding and pepper spray her in the eyes. Now, she’s sent to a mental institute.
Once Ingrid is out she decides that it’s time to become obsessed with a new Instagram celebrity. She discovers Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), a girl living in Los Angeles, and is immediately drawn to her. She starts dressing like her, wearing all the same clothes, and even moves to LA to go to all the same restaurants as her. Eventually Ingrid forces herself into Taylor’s life, becoming one of her best friends.
Ingrid Goes West makes fun of things without ever having to make fun of it. It merely shows us our culture in its exact state–letting us see for ourselves how ridiculous the self-aggrandized internet celebrity has actually become, as well as the fans who fuel it. Begging the question, “Is one really worse than the other?”
The film proceeds to illustrate the blurry line between the celebrities online who make a living being fake posers and the fake posers in real life who live vicariously through them. The point is beautifully subtle and doesn’t even affirm itself, in order to make us question if it’s even true. The film glorifies Taylor’s fame, testing us to see if we agree. Seeing if we, too, think Ingrid is the only crazy one. Though it secretly hopes that a few of us will see through its disguise.
The acting is superb all around, with nods to Plaza, Olsen, as well as O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ingrid’s landlord.
Another thing that shouldn’t go overlooked is the brilliant musical score by composers Jonathan Sadoff and Nick Thorburn, which is reminiscent of Danny Elfman’s score in any Tim Burton film. Yeah, this film is weird too, but it has to be. And Plaza is perhaps the best person for the job.