Last week a friend and colleague of mine e-mailed me with an odd request. He was making a film on an Institute he had attended this summer and wanted me to do the voice-over. I was honored and a little nervous. After I agreed, he sent over the script–a mere twenty lines–and I began practicing.
We wrapped it up the next day.
I’m not sure I want to see/hear the finished project.
Anyway, in this world of coincidences I went to the movies and saw In a World…, Lake Bell’s delightful film about a young woman in the voice-over business.
Lake Bell–who also wrote and directed the film–plays Carol Solomon, the thirty-something daughter of the “King of Voice-Overs,” Sam Sota, played by Fred Melamed, Sam is a bit full of himself; He has published his own kiss-and-tell autobiography and quickly in the movie kicks Carol out of their apartment because his 30-year old girlfriend is moving in. (That the 30-year old girlfriend ultimately acts as his moral conscience shows the shallowness of the man.)
Carol is trying to crack into the male-dominated world of voice-overs. (Easily a microcosm for the difficulty of women finding jobs in the entire film business). And rather than help his daughter in the business, Sam places every roadblock in her way. He truly believes that women have no place in the voice-over business–even if it is his daughter–and so he mentors the rising new “voice-over” superstar, a man perhaps sleazier than Sota himself.
Suddenly without a home, Carol crashes at her sister and brother-in-laws’s house where there is an undercurrent of marital tension and ekes out a living as a voice coach. That is until a few breaks come her way and she makes the most of them.
The arc of the plot is familiar, but the film is no less enjoyable because of that. Bell is a delight to watch. She is quirky without being annoying, serious without being sober, and she is intelligent–in front of and behind the camera. Her relationship with her sister is satisfying, and the romance she has with the sound man, Louis–played by the always enjoyable Demitri Martin–is one that you find yourself rooting for.
I came out of the film smiling. Not because of any silliness or humor, but because In a World… is a small film that gives off a good feeling. In a quiet way, good appears to win in a pretty cutt-hroat town, and that is always an unexpected pleasure.