National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

'In a World...' a delightful, pointed look at a mostly male industry

 | 

Editor's note: The following review contains spoilers.

Because I did not want to wait an hour to see "Lee Daniels' The Butler," I saw "In a World...", writer/actor Lake Bell's directorial debut that premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. What a pleasant surprise.

 

 

Carol (Lake Bell) is an employment-challenged voice coach and daughter of a famous movie trailer voice-over narrator, Sam (Fred Melamed). Up to this point, her voice-over work is limited to training actors to speak in foreign accents. Sam is ready to retire with his very young girlfriend, Jamie (Alexandra Holden), and kicks Carol out of the house. He names the conceited Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) his heir apparent to deliver the words of impending doom and disaster in deep somber tones for movie previews, the kind that begin, "In a world..."

10.24-issue-video.jpgOur 50th Anniversary issue is in the mail, on its way to subscribers. Take a look inside. Not a subscriber? Become one today!

Sam dismisses his daughter entirely as his replacement, telling her, "Let's face it. The industry does not crave a female sound. It's not sexist. It's just the way it is." He enjoys reminiscing with other voice-over actors about their past exploits in the recording business, especially recalling the legacy of Don LaFontaine (1940-2008), the king of movie trailer announcers who coined the intro line "In a world..."

By chance, a studio executive hears Carol's voice, and she is hired to voice-over the trailers for a series of films based on a series of young adult books about female warriors: "The Amazon Games." Carol can hardly believe it, and when she tries to tell her father, he dismisses her because, according to him, the situation is not possible in his world.

Bell is a revelation. She's written a meaningful script and directed it so well it belies her first-time status. She's also funny.

Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis, who appears in the film as the studio executive who hires Carol, is known for activism in the entertainment industry by working to create equal gender representation in film and on television, both behind the camera and in front of it. If you know of Davis' work, her role here is significant.

With "In a World...", we have a film about women by women, and men are not mocked (except for Gustav, just a little). Indeed, Bell spreads around the characters' flaws evenly. The film is entertaining and insightful and hopefully will encourage more women to become filmmakers. Bell proves you don't need explosions to make a fine movie, and maybe her film will create a few cracks in the entertainment ceiling so women can step up and become full partners in this story-telling business. Someone once said, "Whoever tells the stories owns the culture." We need more women storytellers.

Click here for an article by the Hollywood Reporter on why 99 percent of movie trailer voice-over actors are male. While it does seem to be true that male voices are more memorable than women's, this can change, as Bell's gentle film shows.

This story appeared in the print issue under the headline:
'A female sound' in a mostly male industry
.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

October 24-November 6, 2014

10-24-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.