In the spirit of last week's discussion about Amy Pohler and Tina Fey's satire bit at the Emmy's, making fun of how women are objectified in the entertainment industry, I thought I'd tell you about a great film I saw last weekend. (I just looked, and it's certified 91% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. So I am not alone in loving this movie.)
It's not a "big" film and might be hard to find in theaters (I think it's been out here for 8 weeks...) but if you're not in a big city, you might find it on pay-per-view or Netflix or something.
It's called In a World. And I loved it. It's subtle satire. Funny but serious. Poking fun without going too far or getting too silly... Okay world, the set up--it's silly... but all of the actors/characters take it very seriously, so it doesn't come off as broad satire like the Anchorman movies, for example.
Overall, it's a great, well-written story about discrimination against women in the entertainment industry. (The tiny, and arguably ridiculous, part of the industry the film focuses on, is like a microcosm of, or metaphor for the entire industry, arguably any industry...)
The movie is set in the world of voice-over artists--particularly those who specialize in narrating movie trailers. These movie-trailer narrators even have a big award show, a la the Oscars or the Emmys called the "Trailees" or something... I do remember that the trophy had a trailer-style camper-van on top. Ha! But no one points this out. You have to notice these little details, and I have a feeling that more funny bits like that would jump out at me on a second viewing.
The protagonist of the film is a struggling voice artist/vocal coach played by Lake Bell, who also wrote and directed the film. She's the daughter of one of the two most famous movie-trailer voice artists of all time. Her dad's main rival just died, and along with him died his signature line: In a world... Apparently, this dead dude was so good at delivering that line, that no one else dared utter it.
The word goes out that the big new blockbuster quadrilogy soon to hit screens (The Amazon Games*) is going to bring the "in a world" opening line out of retirement with big fanfare, and everyone assumes the heir apparent to the trailer-narrator crown (a ridiculously pompous man) will get the gig. If it's not him, certainly it will be a man. "The industry does not crave a female sound. I'm not being sexist, that's just the truth."
* "it's about these fierce, mutated female Amazonian warriors battling clone prehistoric-cavemen hybrids.
The protagonist's father laughs in her face (actually worse than that) when she tells him she has a chance to audition for what will be *the biggest thing* in their industry in decades.
Anyway, In a World is a really smart and funny story about a character who stands up to her dad and finds her voice (metaphorically as well as literally). Plus it's a sweet romance, with another nice marriage romance sub-plot, and some great family dynamics/tension. Also Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson) is in it, as well as Rob Corddry, and there are some great little cameos by other famous hollywood actors. (Eva Longoria, playing herself, is not afraid to look foolish...)
There were only about 7 or so people in the theater when I saw it (it had been out for 7 weeks...) but I wasn't the only one laughing.
And not only is it smart and sweet and funny, it makes you reflect on how people can be held back or belittled because of their gender, or their race, or their sexuality, etc. etc.
And it also sends a very important message to women about how much your tone of voice and manner of speaking can affect how you're perceived and whether you're taken seriously. And how some women are their own worst enemies in that regard...
I highly recommend this film.