‘In a World’ breaks indie ingenue clichés

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Author: Ella Fornari

The film, “In a World,” examines the behind-the-scenes world of Hollywood voiceover actors. Lake Bell (Children’s Hospital) makes her feature directorial and screenwriting credit debut and also plays lead. Although Bell’s direction and performance are notable, the writing is especially strong and won the film Best Screenplay at The Sundance Film Festival this year.

Bell
plays Carol Soloman, the daughter of the king of movie voiceovers. Because of industry sexism, Carol works as a voice coach and just watches her father’s success in the voiceover industry. When Carol tries to make a name for herself in the male dominated world of voiceover work, she finds herself in competition with her own father.

Carol’s fight, originally catalyzed by her personal interest in voice work, becomes rooted in feminism. The men in the voiceover industry – mainly Carol’s father (Fred Melamed) and his protege Gustav (Ken Marino) – are crass and disrespectful towards women, especially Carol. This misogyny pushes her towards accomplishing her goal of being the first female to break into the voiceover industry.


It would be easy to categorize Carol as a manic pixie dream girl, the artistic woman trope in any given indie comedy. Unlike the classic pixie dream girl (think Zooey Deschanel in anything), Carol is independent in her fight and not defined by a romantic relationship. The only relationships that outwardly influence Carol are those with her sister and her sexist and emotionally unavailable father.

Although the plot is not driven by a romantic interest, Carol ultimately finds one in Louis (Demetri Martin). Known for his one-liners and almost scientific brand of stand-up comedy, Demetri Martin stands out as the handsome sound studio worker who records Carol’s voiceovers.

By featuring the behind-the-scenes world of movies and voiceovers, “In a World” uses film as a medium to poke fun at the process of filmmaking. Although strong in its feminist message and refreshing portrayal of the artistic quirky woman, the self-deprecating sense of humor is perhaps the smartest thing about “In a World.” Whether intentional or not, audiences can appreciate and laugh at the film making fun of itself.

“In a World” is currently playing at the Laemmle Playhouse in Pasadena.

In Bengal Bus Range, 180/181 Bus.

Sunday’s Lammeale’s Playhouse offers $7 tickets to students.

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