It was only a matter of time before someone made a movie about the Instagram phenomenon, in particular the dark-side of it all.
Ingrid Thornton, Aubrey Plaza (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Safety Not Guaranteed), is a woman with some issues. Otherwise known as a stalker.
She follows people on Instagram, becomes obsessed with them and believes they are her friends and are talking to her when they post.
After a spell in a hospital following an incident with her current muse, she picks a new one to follow and moves West to be closer to Instagram star Taylor Sloane, Elizabeth Olsen (Wind River, Avengers: Age Of Ultron).
She does everything she can to get closer to Sloane, copying her, buying the things she buys, eating at the places she eats etc, etc. She engineers a scenario to get to talk to her and the two become ‘friends’.
What she discovers is that, surprise, surprise, the person on Instagram isn’t the real person, aided by information from Wyatt Russell (22 Jump Street, Cowboys & Aliens), Sloane’s boyfriend.
Magnussen decides to blackmail Thornton in exchange for her phone. She then, weaving herself into a bigger set of lies, convinces her new boyfriend O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton, Hip Hop Squares) to help get even with the brother.
It’s a slippery slope which only gets worse for the pair of them as the lies get deeper and things go from bad to worse.
Ingrid Goes West is an interesting take on the online stalker / obsessive situation some people find themselves in, told very much from the stalkers point of view.
The movie can get bogged down at times, re-hashing the same points about obsessive behaviour and doesn’t move forward with a solution or help.
The performances are good though. Plaza plays the obsessive role well, running through emotions with aplomb. Olsen plays the vacuous, online personality well too, breezing through life with a ‘can’t do anything wrong’ attitude.
The almost ending, which I won’t spoil, goes on to touch-on another online scenario that has, unfortunately, played out all too often.
In the end though, what we learn, is to just be ourselves, that’s all we need to be. I feel like it’s a message that a lot of films are pushing at the moment.
Ingrid Goes West will perhaps resonate given the online scenarios, but it’s not something I’d chose to show someone who was struggling as a source of inspiration or help.
No-one faces any consequences for their actions, or very little consequences at least, and, by the end, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people decided copying Thornton’s action would be a good way to go.
This is absolutely not the message I suspect writer and director Matt Spicer (Flower, It’s Not You It’s Me) and co-writer David Branson Smith (Enlightened, Field Trip) went for or one that should be followed.
Online stalking isn’t something that should be taken lightly and I can’t see the relevancy of going to the trouble of making a film that simply points it out, which is as far as Ingrid Goes West gets.