Tom Quinn and Tim League’s upstart distribution company Neon has lit up the Sundance Film Festival scoreboard. They’ve made a North American rights deal for around $3 million on Ingrid Goes West, the Matt Spicer-directed drama that premiered Friday night at the Library Center Theatre. The film stars Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, and Billy Magnussen.
Pic, competing in the U.S. Dramatic category, follows a disturbed young woman who becomes obsessed with an Instagram lifestyle blogger/social media star. When she moves to Los Angeles to try and befriend her in real life, her behavior becomes unsettling and increasingly dangerous. Spicer wrote the script with David Branson Smith.
Star Thrower Entertainment and 141 Entertainment financed and produced. The producers include Jared Ian Goldman, Star Thrower’s Tim and Trevor White, 141 Entertainment’s Adam and Robert Mirels, and Plaza. Mary Solomon, Rick Rickertsen and Allan Mandelbaum executive produced. CAA brokered the deal.
Former RADiUS co-chief Quinn and Alamo Drafthouse’s League revealed their new company days ago, and were expected to be buyers at snowy Park City to buy. This film had numerous bids, but Neon prevailed.
[x006] Photoshoots > Portraits > 2017: Ingrid Goes West Sundance Portraits
[x035] Public Appearances > 2017 > January 21: Variety Studio at Sundance
“Ingrid” also benefits from Olsen’s best work since “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” the aforementioned Russell, O’Shea Jackson as Ingrid’s Batman obsessed landlord (showing a completely different side from “Straight Outta Compton”) and, notably, Billy Magnussen as Taylor’s brother Nicky (somehow more self-centered than his sister). When Nicky shows up out of the blue following an extended stay in Paris he immediately recognizes that Ingrid is not what she seems. Magnussen plays Nicky’s contempt for her like an asshole frat boy from a ‘80s teen movie (the slightly off trend pastel short shorts help) and he pretty much steals every scene he’s in.
Olsen is terrific as the young star who projects an idealized life one Instagram pic at a time, not realizing how seriously some people may take all that carefully crafted fantasy. But Plaza’s performance takes center stage for the entire film, and she makes us ache for this woman even as we’re laughing at her.
It’s just the thing “Ingrid Goes West” needs to cut through that thick-skin ironic veneer of contemporary Hollywood comedy. If only the movie didn’t cap off Ingrid’s sequence of extremely bad decisions by rewarding her most desperate act in the final scene. But that just goes to show you don’t have to “like” something for it to affect you, and Ingrid’s the kind of character who certainly makes an impact.