Ingrid, wonderfully realized by one of my new favorite actresses Aubrey Plaza, is depicted to be nothing short of a psychopathic, obsessive social media user. Moments after we are first introduced to her crying while scrolling through Instagram, she storms into a wedding and pepper sprays the bride, an ex-friend, for not inviting her. The eponymous character soon discovers Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), an internet famous photographer, and moves to LA in a crazy conquest to become the celeb’s best-friend. Hoping that Taylor would see a semblance of herself if the two were ever to meet, Ingrid grows unhealthy infatuated with the celeb’s Instagram and uses the platform to become “Taylor 2.0”. Ingrid is caught a little off guard when she first meets Taylor and fails to befriend her. So she stalks her home, steals her dog and returns him only to get closer to her idol. It works. Despite the lengths Ingrid went to become Taylor’s friend she isn’t crazy — and I don’t think the film intends for her to be identified as such — but more so she’s a product of the movie’s true villain, social media.
With social media anyone can be a recognized photographer on Instagram, have their short films watched by millions on YouTube, or, quite importantly, have their voice be heard on Twitter. But at the same time the use of these platforms are extremely detrimental to mental health. Ingrid’s mother recently passed away, which marked the erasure of the only real thing she loved, and she mistakenly seeks affection in likes, comments, and emojis; this decision has horrendous repercussions on her emotional state. So when Ingrid is absent in all of her ex-friend’s Instagram posts it’s a letter which reads “Dear Ingrid, your existence isn’t needed. I’m happy and better without you here.” Or when she visits Taylor’s glamorous Instagram page with followers in the 100ks, it slaps Ingrid in the face and says, “Hey you! Your life is nowhere near as voluptuous and extravagant as mine. You are missing something you may never get, and I have it. I’ll be sure to remind you of this every time I post”.
Characters in Ingrid Goes West are not able to recognize why Ingrid acts in the manner she does and instead frequently label her as “crazy”, a “psychopath”, and told “you need help”. No one just becomes “insane” but instead something occurs in their life the makes them so and Ingrid is the way she is because of social media. Ingrid does need help but these characters’ inability to deduce exactly why perfectly reflects how unconscious social media users are about the harmful nature of their favorite platforms.
Ingrid Goes West is funny, entertaining, touching and speaks waves on mental health. I recommend that any blogger, Instagram user or social media fanatic put this indie film on their watchlist.
Thanks for reading and I write this 4therace.