Review: In A World (2013)
The big bad word is gravitas. That deep voice certainty that marks a man’s voice. It makes you trust the mouth saying the words. Women don’t get off that easy. Women are shrill, octaves higher on the phone, add question marks to their sentences without reason? Blanket interests include sequins and a TV channel called Bravo. Those interests are pretty silly to a lot of people and not often understood by the opposite sex. But for all the trivial obsessions women have, men have equally embarrassing obsessions. There is not equal flack, however. Is a woman no match against a well-polished man in a suit with a strong handshake? Does a male news anchor somehow en masse reassure the audience more than a female does? Women have deep voices too. Women have gravitas. Women have strong handshakes. But there is a brutal part of Hollywood that dismisses any of that equality. That is the voiceover industry. Think trailers. Think action. Think Morgan Freeman.
Lake Bell plays the daughter of a Hollywood voiceover legend. She’s a budding gal in the business trying to make a splash in a talent pool exclusively male. Her talent has tremendous range. Lake Bell is a master of mimicry as evidenced in a hilarious scene. She entertains herself by copying one of those ‘sexy baby’ voiced girls who is looking for a smoothie, naturally. When she’s not pulling a fast one on basic bitches, her battles include fending off the objectifying treatment of her career peers. While her father loves her very much he doesn’t see her winning over anyone in the voiceover world. Also, his daughter is his competition. In her father’s mind, a woman simply isn’t good enough. A feminine voice doesn’t feel as legitimate as a man’s. It’s up to Lake Bell to change that opinion.
The problem with Lake Bell is she’s pretty. That’s no problem at all though to me. But in Hollywood if you go behind the camera, remember to leave your lipgloss at home. I doubt Lake Bell ever thought once about lipgloss while directing In A World. Or even while writing it. The film considers that lipgloss type. Those women who perpetuate that vapid, stereotypical image of their gender. The ‘sexy baby’ voice a lot of girls adopt to sound innocent and (somehow) more cute to the opposite sex is a problem. Women are better than that and Lake Bell knows it. It’s something women can cease doing but for a lot of them they don’t want to. Often women are taught to find a man and keep him at all costs. These subconscious flirtations and behaviors aren’t inherently bad. The fault however is not in women, or even men. It’s a collusion of time and circumstance affecting both genders.
Still, In A World boasts the ever-funny Demetri Martin and an outstanding cast. The comedy of the film makes it go down easy despite the serious topic of sexism. Lake Bell understands abandoning cliche. She knows the only way to have women accepted in a male dominant profession is to support one another and remind each woman that she is capable of so much more than hunting for a handbag.