You almost certainly follow a Taylor Sloane-type online. Or, perhaps, you’ve seen her smiling at you from the webpages of any cool journal, rattling off her favorite places to get avocado toast or shop for crystals. She’s the type of young lady who meets her manicure to the e book she’s reading (maybe Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter or an antique copy of The Year of Wonderful Thinking) for the perfect picture, drinks her caffeine out of the $60 handmade Helen Levi mug, and fills the white-walled LA bungalow she stocks with her scruffy musician hubby with moving pothos plant life and products you can only just buy in French pharmacies. And we realize all this because Taylor securities it excessively, picture by photography, to her hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers.
But Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is not our protagonist in Matt Spicer’s new funny Ingrid Goes Western world. Instead, it is the unhinged Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza, so when we first meet her she happens to be a mascara-smeared wreck, manically fav-ing the Instagram posts of a marriage before working into said wedding and pepper-spraying the bride-to-be in the facial pores and skin. The mousey, uncomfortable Ingrid brains to rehab, where she promises us that she’s kicked her stalker tendencies. That’s until she spies Taylor in the webpages of any journal, quickly cashes out the $60,000 life insurance coverage her mother left over her when she passed on, and heads European to meet her dreams of befriending (or just becoming) Taylor Sloane.
When Ingrid finally worms her way into Taylor’s life (with methods which include mirror copying her look and stealing her dog), a companionship blossoms. Plaza performs Ingrid with an unsurprising monotone and a continuing, almost lovable restlessness, always readjusting herself literally in scenes as though she were a mannequin wanting to appear real man. “I BROUGHT ROS?!” she screams, at one point, while seeking to grab Taylor’s attention at a celebration, raising the container abruptly like she may as well be bringing up an axe. And she’s only more cartoonish in exhibits opposite Olson as the effusively cool Taylor, whose beautiful life appears as seductive to the audience as it is to Ingrid.
Still, breaks emerge. Taylor’s artist spouse might be an alcoholic. Money originates from spon-con but might be missing. In one picture, while on their way to Joshua Tree, Taylor advises an incredulous gas place employee on how to expertly photography the besties. “In the event that you could go lower that way you could get the register the back and it’d be really adorable,” she whines embarrassingly until he’s on the ground, squinting up at sun light, trying to provide the best shot. Eventually it becomes clear that the same as Ingrid has a way of flittering from Lady Crush to Feminine Crush like a bee to honey, so will Taylor. So when the villain of the film, Taylor’s dickish sibling Nicky, threatens to expose Ingrid’s obsession, she’ll do just about anything to keep him quiet–even if this means violence.
At first glance, Ingrid Goes Western has got the potential to be preachy funny about narcissistic woman patterns and the destructive potential of the web, especially since it’s written and targeted by men. Both Ingrid and Taylor are intensely shallow people; Ingrid uses the hashtag-perfect lives of the ladies she uses as a blueprint on her behalf behalf own, Taylor can’t appear to be to imagine an lifestyle where everything she does is not really a part of her lifestyle brand. But I came across that Spicer and co-writer David Branson Smith’s undertake influencer culture and attractiveness was tonally spot-on, devoid of the kind of hyperbolic, snarky demonization that permeates videos and TV shows about the Internet (like Black Reflection, for example). “I like to let might work speak for itself,” says Wyatt Russell as Taylor’s partner Ezra at one point, who’s described as being “technophobic” and runs on the flip cell phone. Here we go, I thought, here’s the spiel about how precisely exactly the web is destroying everyone. Instead we get a hop cut to Ezra’s paintings: thrifted landscape emblazoned with scarlet hashtags like #SQUADGOALS and #SELFIE.
With this type of Internet-bred micro-celebrity still surprisingly untouched in film and television set set, Ingrid Proceeds West feels as though a movie we needed. And it succeeds because even while the film veers into Todd Solondz-levels of pitch-black darkness, I came across myself rooting for the twisted Ingrid. She handles to be always a disturbed individual but also eerily available in certain shows. Ingrid exists as a human being compilation of whenever you’ve bought a vlogger-recommended beauty product, or put in a lot of time taking an aesthetically perfect picture, or waffled between typing “hehehe” or “hahaha” or “ha ha ha” on the post. And although she’s a terrifying, fave-happy headache, I wouldn’t be impressed if, in Ingrid, people see a very small glimmer of themselves