In a World… review: the sound of her voice

In a World green light Lake Bell

A fresh, funny slice-of-life, casually cutting in its feminism and utterly charming in its storytelling.
I’m “biast” (pro): the trailer made the film look like a lot of fun; love Lake Bell

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

In a world where (some) men are chauvinist jerks just as a reflex and jealously protect their little professional boys’ club — no girlz allowed! — one woman dares to live her life and do her work as she pleases. All hail Lake Bell, writer, director, and star of this smart, simple flick, as charming as if it hadn’t a care in the world and as cutting as a woman taking down sexist bullshit needs to be. Carol (Bell: It’s Complicated) works on the fringes of Hollywood as a vocal and accent coach, but she dreams of doing voiceovers for movie trailers… a prestige gig that women simply don’t get, as her father, Sam (Fred Melamed: The Dictator), himself one of the top trailer voices, keeps reminding her. But when she accidentally falls into contention for a hotly contested job for a new action fantasy “quadrilogy” — resurrecting the “in a world” trope that epic films used to deploy for their trailer narration — Sam and his competition, Gustav (Ken Marino: We’re the Millers), are furious. But if women truly are not suited for trailer voiceover work, there’s no real competition from Carol to be worried about, is there? Bell’s best trick here is that this all feels like nothing more than a slice of Carol’s everyday life: neither character nor filmmaker are waging a campaign, just telling a story about a woman for whom an uphill professional battle and unfair assumptions about what she can and can’t, should and shouldn’t do are everyday obstacles, not extraordinary ones. (And it’s hard to overstate how refreshing it is to see a movie about a woman for whom romance is not central to her ambitions.) The rest of the cast — including Michaela Watkins (The Back-up Plan) and Rob Corddry (Pain and Gain) as Carol’s sister and brother-in-law and Demetri Martin (Contagion) as a recording-studio owner in Carol’s corner — is fantastic, and together they create a warm, funny portrait of a realistic woman with a complex, messy life. That Bell sneaks in a note about why it matters that women’s voices are heard, not only figuratively but literally, is just a bonus.

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