A not-so-subtle evisceration of our over-exposed, self-absorbed culture that has only expanded under the guise of 'the shared experience' predicated and promised by social media, Ingrid Goes West is a dark comedy following the exploits of Ingrid Thorburn, a deeply-damaged individual whose become completely unhinged, conflating social media gestures such as "likes" or "favorites" with meaningful relationships. When Ingrid becomes fixated on Taylor Sloane, an instagram-famous "influencer", she hastily moves to LA, intent on insinuating herself into Taylor's life, desperate to cling to the chic, carefree lifestyle which Taylor exudes in his instagram profile -an outward facing presentation of happiness, creativity, and freedom. Matt Spicer's Ingrid Goes West is sharp, biting satire that features a roller-coaster ride of a narrative in which the viewer simply feels along for the ride, bedside companion with this borderline disturbed main protagonist who will seemingly do anything to feel influential and important. Ingrid is a deeply-troubled individual, a woman whose loneliness and isolation have caused her to grasp desperately for any form of happiness or companionship since the untimely death of her mother, and as her desperation increases she goes to extreme lengths to befriend and ultimately stay friends with Taylor, obsessed with conforming to Taylor's outward social media presentation of what it means to be happy and alive. Going into Ingrid Goes West don't expect an contemplative evocation on mental illness but what the film lacks in introspection about loneliness, isolation, and depression, it makes it for its critique of our image-obsessed culture, beautifully revealing the alienating aspects of social media, showcasing how it often breeds conformity and is at odds with individuals and the important notion of being oneself. While not afraid to deviate into darkness, Ingrid Goes West overall maintains a relatively light tone, considering the subject matter, intent on playfully deconstructing our self-absorbed culture that has only been reinforced by social media, one where we desperately grasp for outside confirmation as it pertains the positive components of our self-image through 'likes". The film doesn't show much interest in deconstructing whether social media is the problem itself , or merely a symptom of a much larger disease, instead Ingrid Goes West focuses on how it's a tool that reinforces an individual's penchant for only seeing the worst in oneself, while at the same time only seeing the best in others through social media applications, where individuals present themselves in a way in which they want to be seen, a mirage, that simplifies the complexity of all of us, only showing the socially acceptable-side, one that is happy and carefree, while neglecting the other side of the spectrum, the one which all of us as individuals are much more terrified to share due to feeling vulnerability about our perceived shortcomings. In a sense, Ingrid Goes West is not simply a criticism of social media, but a statement about individualism and self-sufficiency, detailing how self-care and self-ownership of one's happiness and worth is essential. Ingrid is a character who goes to extreme lengths to feel important and liked, yet she ultimately fails over-and-over due to her fears of simply being herself, fixated on other people's ideals of what it means to happy and successful.
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