Ingrid Goes West ★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I didn't get much more out of this than I did out of Young Adult or, for that matter, Joker. It's billed as a black comedy but ends up feeling to me like a bit of car-crash rubbernecking as you look at a mentally ill young woman (Aubrey Plaza, who's very credible here) whose entire world is centered on her Instagram likes, desperate for friendship, stalking a hapless influencer. It's all quite anxiety-inducing; Spicer is good at ramping up Nightcrawler-like thriller scenarios but this is a bit of a strange context for them, especially when the mood is so frequently disrupted by bouts of rather broad jokes and commentary about the ugly world of life lived exclusively via social network. The script frankly feels incomplete; Ingrid feels more like a outsider's caricature of the desperate online denizen than a person who's hurting and slowly collapsing. The backstory of her previous stalking episode, the climax of which opens the film, feels phoned-in; and bits of off-color humor regarding her target's annoying brother and her landlord's predilection for Batman-oriented sex are underdeveloped ideas that go nowhere. Most annoying is the haphazard way that Elizabeth Olsen's sunny-and-bright narcissist is depicted; her feelings toward Ingrid turn on a whim without much clarity, and she seems to be a totally different person from one scene to the next -- yes, the idea is that she's crafted such an empty persona for herself that she no longer knows who she is, but there's so little depth to the way this is depicted that she essentially becomes a sitcom-like punching bag. It all culminates in an attempt at a Bling Ring-like final twist of the knife, an attempt to underline the character's shallowness that ends up exposing the film's own. I suppose the idea is to make me feel like garbage, in which case, y'know, job well done.

Also... Assayas, Fincher, Bo Burnham and Sofia Coppola (probably to the best effect) have all tried it, but there's just no way to make scrolling and posting and texting cinematic or lyrical.

Nathan liked this review