Words by Duncan Caillard
Lake Bell’s directorial debut, In a World, is a quirky yet charming romantic comedy about breaking into the competitive world of Hollywood voiceovers. Having just been evicted from her prestigious father’s home, Carol Solomon (played by Bell, who incidentally wrote the film as well) must determine her own place in life outside her father’s shadow.
A strength of the film is its exploration of the often-overlooked corner of Hollywood that is the voice over, without getting bogged down in details. While cinephiles and aspiring sound designers are more likely to jump headlong into the world than a run of-the-mill muggle, the whole movie is nevertheless very accessible.
Its humour is quirky yet surprisingly grounded, a good portion of the laughs rising from simple, human relationships as they breakdown, are remade, and start altogether. The cast is strong, giving the film a sense of closeness and joviality, which is contemporary romantic comedies often miss. The end result is a cosy 90 minutes of character-driven comedy which remains taut and engaging. Despite all this, it still manages to seriously discuss the lack of female voices in the media without being invasive, challenging the audience to rethink the role of a gendered voice in media.
While it can feel a little didactic at points, particularly near the end, this only adds to the film’s quaint charm, having the added bonus of letting you leave the cinema feeling as if you’ve learnt something.
Ultimately, In a World is a crisp, endearing and occasionally very funny film with something clear and meaningful to say. While quirky and distinct, its a well-constructed film that can appeal to a wide audience. While not groundbreaking, it still makes for an excellent movie.
In A World is in Australian cinemas from 3 April.