Ingrid Goes West is a 2017 American black comedy drama film directed by Matt Spicer and written by Spicer and David Branson Smith. The film stars Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, Billy Magnussen, Wyatt Russell, Pom Klementieff, and O’Shea Jackson Jr., and follows a young woman who moves to Los Angeles in an effort to befriend her Instagram idol.
The film premiered in competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. It had a limited release in the United States on August 11, 2017, by Neon, grossing $3 million. The film received positive reviews, with many praising the script, dark themes, humor, and performances.
Ingrid Thorburn is a mentally unstable young woman in Pennsylvania. After discovering on Instagram that an unrequited friend of hers named Charlotte did not invite her to her wedding, Ingrid crashes the reception and pepper sprays her in the face. She then undergoes a brief stay at a mental hospital.
After being released, Ingrid learns of a social media influencer named Taylor Sloane from a magazine article. Beguiled by her seemingly perfect life, Ingrid comments on one of her posts and receives a response from Sloane. With an inheritance of over $60,000 from her deceased mother, Ingrid decides to move to Los Angeles to become friends with Taylor. Upon arrival, she rents a house in Venice from Dan Pinto, an aspiring screenwriter. She visits Taylor’s regular hangouts and restaurants, and gets a makeover in her style.
After running into Taylor at one of her favorite bookstores, Ingrid follows her to her house and kidnaps her dog, Rothko. After Taylor puts up “lost dog” posters in the neighborhood, Ingrid returns Rothko, meeting Taylor and her husband Ezra. Ingrid accepts their offer to stay for dinner. The next day, Dan lends Ingrid his truck to help Taylor move some items to her home in Joshua Tree, on the condition that she return that evening to take a part in a table read of his screenplay. She tells Taylor the truck is her boyfriend’s. They stay out late and party, and on the way home Ingrid damages the truck while driving under the influence. She returns it the following morning to a furious Dan, who was forced to cancel his table read.
Ingrid’s friendship with Taylor grows as they begin to regularly hang out at galleries, restaurants and shops. After a while, Ingrid arrives at Taylor and Ezra’s house and unexpectedly meets Taylor’s brother Nicky, a recovering drug addict who is cold to Ingrid. Taylor dismisses her previous plans with Ingrid to attend a party with Nicky, furthering Ingrid’s disdain for him. Taylor and Nicky tease Ingrid about her “imaginary” boyfriend Dan, whom they’ve never met. They invite Ingrid to a party that weekend at fashion blogger Harley Chung’s house and tell her to bring Dan.
Ingrid apologizes to Dan for damaging his truck, promising to reimburse him and take him out to dinner. Later that night, after bonding over their past losses, the two have sex and begin a relationship. Ingrid invites Dan to Harley’s party and asks him to tell everyone he’s her boyfriend. Once there, Ingrid becomes envious of Taylor and Harley’s friendship. After a conversation with Ezra, Ingrid begins to realize that several aspects of Taylor’s persona are fabricated. Nicky finds Ingrid’s phone with incriminating photographs that reveal her obsession with Taylor, and blackmails her for money. In retaliation, Ingrid pays a stranger to punch her in the face and tells Dan that Nicky did it. She begs him not to call the police for fear of what Nicky might do, and instead convinces him to kidnap and terrorize Nicky to keep him quiet. Nicky escapes his bindings and attacks Dan, leading Ingrid to stun Nicky with a crowbar. Ingrid rushes Dan to the hospital and leaves Nicky unconscious in the desert. Later on, Ingrid sees on Instagram that Taylor and Ezra went to Joshua Tree so Ingrid decides to drive and surprise them but no one is home. Ingrid tries to call Taylor, but Ezra answers and tells Ingrid that Nicky has told them what happened, that Taylor does not want to hear from Ingrid again, and that she would have been arrested if Nicky had not been trying to hide his own crimes.
Desperate, Ingrid moves into the small house next door to Taylor, using the last of her inheritance. Unable to pay the bills, she eventually loses power at the house. After noticing a Halloween party at Taylor’s house, she dons a bed sheet and wig and crashes the party to charge her phone. When discovered, Ingrid berates Nicky, Ezra, and Taylor. Taylor responds that because of her façade, the two were never truly friends, and suggests Ingrid needs professional help. Bereft, Ingrid retreats to her home surrounded by lit candles and records a video for her Instagram page, confessing her past deception before attempting suicide by overdosing on pills.
Ingrid survives after Dan sees the video and calls emergency services. She wakes in the hospital to learn that her video has gone viral, and thousands of strangers have responded to her hashtag iamingrid to show support.
Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid Thorburn, a mentally unstable woman with attachment issues, obsessed with social media.
Elizabeth Olsen as Taylor Sloane, a popular, narcissistic social media influencer with whom Ingrid becomes obsessed.
O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Daniel “Dan” Pinto, an aspiring screenwriter and Ingrid’s landlord who falls in love with her.
Wyatt Russell as Ezra O’Keefe, a painter and Taylor’s husband.
Billy Magnussen as Nicky Sloane, a recovering drug addict and Taylor’s brother.
Pom Klementieff as Harley Chung, a fashion blogger.
Hannah Utt as Nicole
Joseph Breen as Garth Lafayette
Angelica Amor as Cindy
Meredith Kathleen Hagner as Charlotte Buckwald, a woman Ingrid forms a one-sided friendship with.
Charlie Wright as Chuck
Dennis Atlas as Buck