Why I would pay to see “In A World” again. For the third time.

in-a-world-poster_612x907Two weeks ago I took my boyfriend to see Lake Bell’s new film In A World, about a struggling female voice-over actress trying to make it in a male-dominated industry. Yesterday I dragged my little sister and my dad to see it. I’m considering taking my best friend to see it next weekend.

Why might I–an unemployed recent college graduate–agree to pay for an overpriced movie ticket to see the same film three times? Because it is not only an engaging and entertaining movie, but also a feminist film. Firstly, in an industry dominated by men, the movie is  written, directed, produced by and starred in all by the same woman. Lake Bell is my new shero. Refreshingly, there are no dramatic and unrealistic makeovers. Carol Solomon (played by Bell) looks like a normal person (never brushes her hair once, not very fashion savvy) for the entire movie. And people are still attracted to her. There is also a heart-warming solidarity demonstrated by the two sister characters, who  support each other through relationship woes, parental problems and more. They annoy each other, but they never back-stab each other.

“In a World” addresses the under-representation of women in the media and leaves us questioning how we women are socialized to represent ourselves to others. Carol says in one scene, ”Women should sound like women, not like baby dolls who end everything in a question.”And, not only does the film take on issues of gender, but issues of class. As Molly McCaffrey  points out at Bitch Flicks, “this movie shows a young person living at home with a parent and that she isn’t doing so because she’s a lazy, lost, unmotivated slacker.” You know, like almost 20% of adults today.

My only criticism of the film lies in a scene in which Carol (spoiler alert) has sex with another character. Her expression and body language seem to indicate that she is by no means comfortable with the situation, in fact, the whole thing looked pretty non-consensual. However, this is never addressed within the film. McCaffrey read the scene differently than I did:

“I was equally thrilled that Carol had casual sex with some random guy she met at a party and celebrated it. And that she didn’t end up regretting her actions or have something bad happen to her as a result. In this movie, sex was just part of life—no big deal—much like it is in real life.”

To those who have seen the movie: what did you think? Was that rape, or a woman enjoying herself some casual sex?

To those who haven’t seen it, check out the trailer below – the movie is in theaters now.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted September 20, 2013 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the review – after reading this yesterday I had a look at my local cinema, to find just 1 showing at 6pm last night (so I went, by myself & was the only person there)

    I especially loved how it avoided many stereotypes – dad’s new young girlfriend isn’t a bitch, or trying to shut his daughters out, as you say the sisters are supportive rather than competitive and the non-English speaking maid gets not only lines but a plot pivot (I may have just made that phrase up!)

    Having seen your review I was ready & waiting for the sex scene – and I too wish there had just been an extra couple of frames to show her smiling or something? She’s obviously initially surprised by his advances, and there didn’t seem to be quite enough time to perhaps take her through her thought processes. However her actions & words the following morning reassured me.

    My only small issue is with the ending, which is difficult to discuss online without spoilers – I felt it was a bit ambiguous as to what was Carol’s decisions, and the premise of that final scene did jar with me a bit.

    For anyone else going to see it, beware that if you’re like me you may get distracted by trying to figure out where you recognise many of the cast from (I had to go onto IMDB to check afterwards!)

    • Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      I agree Jo, the ending was a bit sad. But I think it was good, since it showed just how complicated these issues are. I imagine what happened to Carol is the case for many other underrepresented communities–sometimes they are there more to make a point than because they are the best. Who knows?

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