Two 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.