Saturday, August 04, 2018

Movie Review: Ingrid Goes West

If you watched Ingrid Goes West and never once checked your social media accounts, then you don't have the addiction to constantly check social media and, most importantly, you are nothing like the obsessive compulsive character portrayed by Aubrey Plaza.

No other movie has given Aubrey Plaza the opportunity to be so vulnerable like in her role as Ingrid Thorburn in Ingrid Goes West. From the start it is clear that this movie is about a young woman who goes off course in her life when she fanatically tries to be someone she isn't; manipulates her way into the life of someone she found on Instagram to follow and for which to be influenced on what to wear, what to eat, etc. 

The only real honest person in Ingrid's life comes with the friendship she forms with her landlord, Dan Pinto, played by O'Shea Jackson, Jr. He's got a thing for Batman. It is a great angle for him to play with in other aspects of the story involving Ingrid's critical compulsive behavior. Together their antics are less heroic and more mischievous, but he lightens the tragic side of the mentally ill aspect of Ingrid's personality.

Ingrid Goes West shows us how people with their vapid personalities prefer to surround themselves with others like them. In the case of the character of Ingrid, she tries to blend in and be a part of the popular scene, justifies her existence by wining approval and friendship with the most empty-minded social media "influencer," Taylor Sloane.

Elizabeth Olsen plays Taylor Sloane and does an expert portrayal of someone who wants to surround themselves with every new product or trend to post to their page. Poses with the best, verbally declares everything is the best, but without "everything" she literally is no one, nothing.

Unfortunately, if it is not obvious, Ingrid fails to gain more actual, and much needed, close friends nor does she have truly enjoyable emotional experiences by stalking her favorite "manufactured" social media personality. Someone like Taylor Sloane is attractive to others who are unpopular and desire human connections. For the isolated person like Ingrid, sometimes social media interaction is anxiety inducing at its worst. In one instance, Ingrid demonstrates a level of being self-conscious about posting comments, is compelled to get it right to gain her "like" or a reply to the comment. She doesn't want to come off too needy or too quirky, but she wants Taylor to respond so she asks a harmless question while being encouraging. Taylor's response, of course, is life changing to Ingrid to the point where she insinuates herself into Taylor's life at the highest degree of desperation to win her over.

Ingrid Goes West offers an example of how society struggles to never relinquish a grip on their, ironically, "smart" gadgets, and how people avoid facing their true "selfie". However, is abstinence the only answer to our social media madness? What if you're at the point of posting your final vlog and you get a "like" in response, can you still cut yourself off?

Take your "selfie" on a break to explore this:

Techcrunch come up with 9 reasons social media stalking feels so right. -- ask yourself now, are you a stalker? If so, do you have the right equipment? 
Facebook and Instagram announced that they have put into place tools for those that want to know how long they've been using the apps. However some psychologists say that this is not going to reduce or stop the addiction. "'If one is addicted to maximizing ‘likes,’ it seems that these tools are a bit like suggesting to an alcoholic that he/she set an alarm to go off after the first drink or a few drinks — not effective at all,' she said." 
"To use the new tools on Facebook and Instagram, users will need to find them on a settings page and take the time to opt in, which will most likely be a barrier to many people, experts said."
The concept of social media stalking addressed in Ingrid Goes West is exactly why I won't activate a data plan on my cell phone or I'd otherwise fall into the trap of checking into social media no matter where I am. I'm not at all on social media to be an influencer. I typically choose who I follow and don't react by clicking "follow" on any strangers who follow me.  
We all have seen those friends on Facebook aka "crackbook" who post selfies on a regular basis. What is this constant need for attention? We've all learned in the past year that the addiction to social media is built in with each like providing a dopamine hit, from Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, "'The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’ That means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments,' he said." 
[Ingrid Goes West Spoilers]
Favorite lines:

  • "Maybe its good to be alone once in a while." 
  • "If you don't have anyone to share anything with then what's the point of living."
Noted connection to a real world experience:
  • Best moment of satire--an inside joke for people who have dined at the vegan affirmation-laden Cafe Gratitude--in the film is a place called the Grateful Kitchen. The vegan cafes are only in SoCal, but just make sure you don't end up at Cafe Attitude.

Read more about the actor's and director's view of social media.

Do you want more movie reviews that offer a comparative insight into our contemporary world? Let me know in the comments.

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