Movie Review of Ingrid Goes West - An #AllTooReal Depiction of Generation Me
Movie Review by Kelly A. Byrne
A week ago, my buddy who works in comedy took me to see a movie I
knew almost nothing about. It was getting great reviews, so in I went, blind as
a bat, to see Ingrid Goes West starring Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olson, Wyatt
Russell, and Billy Magnussen. Directed by Matt Spicer. What a time it was.
A quick logline; A young woman, Ingrid, who has just
suffered the loss of her mother moves west to Los Angeles to pursue and
befriend an Instagram model who lives the “perfect” life. Anyone who has
interacted with social media knows the fraudulent nature of it. It’s the sliver
of life that everyone wants you to see – even strangers. When Ingrid can no
longer make life work for herself at home, she takes the $60K her mother left
her and travels to the land of perfect Instagrams and model living: Venice
Beach, California. Ingrid Goes West was an expert satire and commentary on the
way the under-30 generation is addicted to technology and social media; how
they love the semblance of living a certain way, but cannot truly commit to or
claim any single style or habit because they are always onto the next thing.
The movie is a genius mockery of and serious warning to those trying to impress
the masses through exploiting pop-lifestyle, as well as the lemmings who
This movie was a trip into the psyche of the psychotic. Ingrid is
not a healthy, young individual, but rather a girl stressed out and depressed
by her inability to fit in with every basic girl. Ingrid is beautiful, but has
no friends. Ingrid is smart, but cannot decipher social norms. Entire minutes
are spent watching her scroll through her Instagram feed, serially liking
photos of people, places, and things she doesn’t have any personal attachment
to. But because others who have thousands of followers have decreed it to be
something “cool”, she buys into it. For whatever reason, Ingrid does not know
how to function in the real world. She cannot forge relationships or
friendships, often based in commonalities people find with one another, because
she has no beliefs or confidence in herself. If the first rule is to know
thyself, Ingrid has failed it. She is so lost in the Me Generation that she
doesn’t really know who she is.
Part of the fun of seeing this movie in theaters is watching and
hearing how others react to the incredibly awkward and socially uncouth
situations Ingrid gets herself into. The story is (sadly) relatable, and though
it is marketed as a comedy, a majority of laughs were brought on by her
ineptitude and bold behavior. She is extreme in her desire to live with
photogenic, bougie extravagances. What Ingrid does to get the Instagram model’s
attention, however, is beyond daring to onlookers. Her actions and decisions
are all based on wanting to become this girl. She has no sense of self and sees
this model as an actual role model. She buys all the same purses, eats at all
the same restaurants: a professional copycat. The audience was in shock. It was
the kind of laughter someone has at a funeral when they just don’t know what
else to do.
The end of the film makes a serious commentary on what happens to
people like Ingrid, and it isn’t good. The ending is open-ended, although neither ending is truly happy. It certainly had me laughing and talking with strangers outside the theater about what the heck we just saw. If anything, the movie makes the slightest suggestion to Generation Me to build character, find real role models that advocate for more than a new over-priced pair of shoes, or the next avocado toast. It’s about finding yourself in the maze and living a full life, sincerely, without the fear of what social media thinks of you.
How Does Ingrid Goes West score on the Women-o-Meter? PUMPS: 5
(Reviewer's note: Although, “making good decisions” isn’t what comedies are made of).
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