On World Social Media Day, revisiting Ingrid Goes West — equal parts cautionary tale and chronicle of a zeitgeist

June 30, 2020
On World Social Media Day, revisiting Ingrid Goes West — equal parts cautionary tale and chronicle of a zeitgeist 1

On World Social Media Day, revisiting Ingrid Goes West — equal components cautionary story and chronicle of a zeitgeist

The Instagram-obsessed protagonist of 2017’s Ingrid Goes West holds up a mirror to our personal relationship with social media

The findings of a world digital overview launched this January famous that over 4.5 billion folks have been utilizing the web at first of 2020. There have been over 3.eight billion lively social media customers, and “the most recent developments counsel that greater than half of the world’s complete inhabitants will use social media by the center of this 12 months,” the report noticed.

These numbers, whereas telling, don’t even start to color an image of simply how a lot social media has come to form fashionable life. An acknowledgement of the phenomenon occurred a decade in the past, when 30 June was declared “World Social Media Day”. By the way, The Social Community — about Fb’s founding — was launched that very same 12 months. However for the definitive movie about social media, we in all probability have to look to Matt Spicer’s 2017 black comedy, Ingrid Goes West.

Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) battles an undisclosed psychological well being situation.  When Ingrid pepper spays a social media influencer for not sending her a marriage invite — full disclosure: Ingrid and the influencer aren’t buddies and even acquaintances; the extent of their interplay is that the influencer commented on certainly one of Ingrid’s Instagram posts, which leads the latter to imagine they’re the thickest of buddies — Ingrid is admitted to rehab.

Her agony in rehab is what begins off the movie; she’s established as a sufferer proper on the onset. However as she exits the ability and the narrative begins to unfold, Ingrid’s journey turns into a cautionary story, significantly for these unwittingly hooked on social media platforms.

On this movie, social media could also be a catalyst for Ingrid’s psychological sickness, however it’s also a coping mechanism. Instagram triggers her downward spiral, but additionally retains her sane. By an encounter along with her social media idol Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) Ingrid is pressured to confront the illusory nature of social media — till she turns into an influencer herself.

Taylor is your typical, chirpy influencer; she posts about mental books she hasn’t learn, attends events for the sake of social media mileage, and has extra footage of her canine than household on her feed.

Those that view Ingrid’s obsession via a judgmental prism to start with steadily witness the exposé of her social media “idol”. Taylor looks like certainly one of us, who has labored her approach up the followers ladder, and earned numerous digital love within the course of. Sure, she could ask a form gentleman who agreed to click on her image to take multiples images whereas she’s mendacity on a street while flashing the victory signal. Sure, she may additionally ditch her BFF Ingrid’s invitation to a VIP social gathering solely to go for it anyway with extra ‘influential’ firm, and fake-frown at Ingrid getting thrown out of the identical do. However she is ‘regular’ as a result of she has a sizeable social media following — a nod to the truth that nowadays, you’re extra prone to be thought-about unusual in case you wouldn’t have a social media presence than in case you spend copious quantities of time on any of the quite a few platforms, pushed by FOMO.

On World Social Media Day revisiting Ingrid Goes West  equal parts cautionary tale and chronicle of a zeitgeist

Elizabeth Olsen as Taylor and Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid, in a nonetheless from Ingrid Goes West

Issues start to unravel when Taylor’s parasitic brother exhibits up. He good points entry to Ingrid’s cellphone and figures out she’s been stalking his sister all this whereas. He makes use of this info to blackmail her for cash, however Ingrid retaliates with a self-destructive plan. After a series of occasions, she is seen fretting over missed calls and messages which can be left at “seen” by Taylor.

A stream of determined one-way communication later, Ingrid is knowledgeable by Taylor that she obtained to know the entire story from her brother, and doesn’t wish to preserve any additional contact along with her. This feels akin to a breakup for Ingrid, who sends Taylor voice messages that vary from “I’m Ingrid… your greatest pal”, to “decide up the cellphone, b*tch”, adopted by “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I mentioned that”.

Ingrid ultimately grabs maintain of Taylor — after spending a fortune to purchase the home subsequent to hers, failing to pay the electrical energy payments, and extracting cash from her water closet solely so she will be able to purchase a bottle of water. When Taylor tells Ingrid that her “life is a lie”, Ingrid counters by holding the mirror as much as Taylor: “Your brother is a drug addict. Your husband would not such as you. You have been a depressing piece of sh*t once you moved right here as a result of nobody would speak to you. You have been precisely what I’m proper now!”

Shaken, confronted with a realisation she’s stored within the darkest recesses of her thoughts, Taylor regains her composure and responds: “I used to be by no means such as you… You want skilled assist.”

This finally ends up pushing Ingrid off the sting; she overdoses on drugs, posting an Instagram video earlier than shedding consciousness. Greater than a suicide word, the video is a cry for assist: Ingrid says she’s recording it “as a result of I’ve nobody else to speak to”.

The video saves her life. Her former landlord sees it on Instagram and alerts the authorities. When she regains consciousness within the hospital, Ingrid cries profusely and claims she feels sorry for doing “a silly factor”. However within the subsequent second, she notices the balloons and items round her mattress, despatched by followers who watched her Instagram video.

Her eyes widen with the joys of realising she is a social media influencer now. She scrolls via her feed excitedly to see hordes of followers commenting on and sharing posts accompanied by #IAmIngrid. In that second, Ingrid Goes West evolves from a cautionary story to an apt capsule of the social media zeitgeist.

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