The Faces Behind the Voices

My Sundance adventure ended today, and it couldn’t have ended on a higher note. I’ve written before on my addiction to movie trailers and how I spend far more time watching trailers than I do watching films, and therefore it couldn’t have been more perfect that the last movie I saw at Sundance revolved around the world of trailers, and in particular, the business and politics behind voice over work.

In A World…, written, directed by and starring Lake Bell, tells the story of Carol, a down on her luck vocal coach who yearns to be a voice over actor. Her father is one of the industry’s veterans, and he is about to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Trailer Awards. He is also less than enthusiastic about his daughter’s ambitions, and his lack of support is just one of the many dysfunctional family dynamics that populate Carol’s life. After nailing a demo track for a trailer, Carol’s voice over work is suddenly in demand, and the film focuses on her quest to land the job of resuscitating the iconic “In a world…” opening that was made famous by the legendary real life voice actor Don LaFontaine, who passed away in 2008.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this film, but In A World… quickly landed in my top three of the films I saw at Sundance. The script was hilarious but poignant, filled with sharply defined characters who are instantly relatable, delightfully sleazy, and wholly adorable. In particular, I loved the relationship between Carol and her sister Dani, two wonderfully honest, flawed, and dynamic characters who anchor the story with their quirky bond best summed up by Carol’s new turn of phrase: Sister Code. Watching Carol and Dani support each other, if reluctantly at times, gives this hysterically funny film its emotional gravitas, and it was this combination of laughs and gasps that made the film such a joy to watch. Although I may not have known much about Lake Bell going into the screening, I will be eagerly waiting for whatever she comes out with next, because scripts with this level of humour, wit, and tenderness are few and far between. Moreover, after ten days of emotionally jarring filmgoing experiences, it was wonderful to end Sundance with a laugh. Or two. Hundred.

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