There are dozens of hot takes to be read on Millennials and all of the reasons that they are the worst so I won’t bother giving you a new one. Especially as a Millennial, that’s probably not the best look. Matt Spicer, wether intentionally or unintentionally, has delivered one of the hottest of takes on not only Millennials, but social media culture in general and all of the obsession that it sometimes brings with it in ‘Ingrid Goes West’.
‘IGW’ follows the story of Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) who has had a bit of a rough go lately as she moves to LA to insert herself into the life on an Instagram celebrity. Plenty of obsessive quirks and awkward interactions follow as she gets herself in a little too deep and brings some folks along for the ride.
With this being Matt Spicer’s directorial debut, I had little to go on other than the fantastic trailers I had seen and the magnificent cast including Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Wyatt Russell. All of this was enough for me to be intrigued thoroughly and I was not let down. From the jump, Spicer knows how to make his audience cringe without losing them with the help of the always fantastic Plaza. It's also immediately clear that Plaza’s Ingrid has some problems interacting with others in a “normal” or “healthy” manner but Spicer and Plaza have a strong command on this character and keep her just within the lines of being likable.
You will undoubtedly see parts of yourself or people you know in Ingrid when seeing he interact with her phone and social media specifically. Sequences of Ingrid obsessively double-tapping her screen in a seemingly never-ending stream of Likes is only a mild exaggeration of what you may frequently see in any public setting. Where ‘IGW’ really cranks this idea to 11 is when we see the lengths that Ingrid will go to to meet her latest target. With a recent inheritance, Ingrid has the funds to pack up her life and move out west to sunny LA where Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is based with her husband Ezra (Wyatt Russell). While we are told that Taylor is a photographer, she and Ezra both seem to be overloaded with free time and relaxation which opens up plenty of opportunities for Ingrid to slide in.
Wether it be Ingrid stealing a dog to meet Taylor officially or her dying her hair and buying a new wardrobe to better match her, Spicer isn’t worried about holding back and using Plaza to deliver a more traditional protagonist. Ingrid isn’t entirely doomed during ‘IGW’ however, as her relationship with her batman-fanatic landlord Dan Pinto (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) has momentary notes of normalcy. Momentary being the key word. As someone who is still unsold on Jackson Jr. as an actor, ‘IGW’ eliminated any doubts I had as he delivers a fantastic performance filled with charm and humor that matches the rest of this more established cast. Jackson Jr. and Plaza together deliver one of the best sex scenes I can think of without any nudity because of their chemistry and the writing by Spicer and David Branson Smith.
Spicer has chosen to tackle a lot with ‘IGW’ and nails every bit throughout. This is not only a ‘Single White Female’ for the Millennial, tech-obsessed generation, but it's also an exploration of what we will overlook in others when in love or lust. ‘IGW’ also touches on the need that some of us have to keep up a public image or persona driven by social pressures and marketing. Maybe you'll leave the theater thinking about how you let too many people dictate major decisions for you. Guess what! That's right too. I can’t wait to see what Spicer does next and whatever Aubrey Plaza chooses as her next project, I’m in! This new direction is exciting and they have collectively delivered a must see.