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Little Voice

Little Voice (1998)

tomatometer

75

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 12,555

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the Olivier Award-winning London play, LITTLE VOICE follows the story of a young girl who can only express herself through famous vintage songs. She doesn't speak, but she can sing in the timeless voices of performers like Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Billie Holliday.

R,

Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Mark Herman

Jul 13, 1999

Miramax

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Cast

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All Critics (54) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (10) | DVD (3)

A small picture with a big heart.

June 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A lively if finally rather cruel comic fantasy.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Horrocks' gift for impersonation is remarkable. If her acting career ever stalls, she can take her singing act on the road. Her Garland impression alone would fill every gay bar in the world.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: CNN.com
CNN.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Here everything leads up to (and wilts after) Horrocks' showstopper. But she is amazing. Absolutely fabulous.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite many good scenes of whimsy, humor, and pathos, not to mantion great mimicry of Garland, Dietrich, and others, the movie is trying to do too much and the last reel is weak, contrived and burdened with a fake romance and upbeat ending.

September 23, 2009 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Little Voice is based on Jim Cartwright's play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which premiered in 1992 at the National Theatre in London.

March 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

has the same semi-whimsical and semi-earthy tone as director Mark Herman's 'Brassed Off.' The last quarter of the story, however, seems strangely out of sync with the mostly bubbly set-up.

July 3, 2003 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Rises to... delirious heights with Horrocks' performance.

April 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Director Mark Herman (Brassed Off) uses his camera with flair to free the story from the confines of its stage-play origin.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

The ideas in "Little Voice" are musty Broadway bombast which Blethyn delivers at a shrieking pitch.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Little Voice loses its way at points, especially in its hurried, portentous ending. Yet it never obscures the blinding talent of Horrocks.

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

A well-realized drama about a closed-off young woman who learns to get in touch with her inner voice.

March 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

A mild and entertaining comedy.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

It's very moving, even when it is moving a little slowly.

July 9, 2001 Full Review

Predictable and shallow. Something precious has been lost in the translation from the stage to the big screen.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Sometimes talent emerges from the crummiest of places.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Caine and especially Blethyn are a hoot, exuding the right mix of sleaze, sexuality, selfishness, and even sympathy,

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

The drawbacks to "Little Voice" might sink a lesser movie, but not this one.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

Herman has overcome the obstacles of adapting from stage to screen and fashioned an almost perfect blend of biting wit, heart-warming comedy and superb acting.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Little Voice

Small as the subject, Little Voice is about sensational talents of a timid woman without regard for herself or her life. Maybe that too is insensitive, because the character of Little Voice is always being imposed upon by her mother, played by the hard to understand but phenomenally talented Brenda Blethyn. The film is anything but understated, forcing mixed metaphors down our throat, all to the tune of a Judy Garland song whaling in the background. It's more than about hidden talent or the forces of the world trying to take advantage of it. It's about love, showing it any way you can, even if it is for the dead, and even if that may be by singing your heart out in their memory. Little Voice sings for her father, and isn't so much encouraged as forced to sing by her mother and her mother's skeevy acquaintance Ray Say, a manager for a shabby nightclub downtown called Mr. Boo's. Besides being a grand idea trapped in the small world of an English village, it's also about the beautiful qualties imbibed within many people who walk past us every day. Little Voice is small, soft spoken, and uninterested in the real world, or trying to get past her saddening situation of isolation and naivete. The antics of her mother are quite hard to watch as she bellows and moans her way into another bout of loneliness. Michael Caine is sensational as always as Ray Say, a contentious man who seduces Little Voice into a one night gig and then takes advantage by selling her outright. Jane Horrocks, who would go on to be a great character actress featured in director Mike Leigh's productions, is a force to be reckoned with, as she straddles the line between temptress and mousy invalid. She blows us away with her stunning singing and spot on impersonations The romantic interest, played in a small role by Ewan McGregor, wasn't a strong influence on the main character, but he was a cute addage, a part of the plot that may not have been needed, but showed insight into what Little Voice really wanted. Certainly watch because of the sensational singing, but stay for the family dysfunction.
May 23, 2012
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Directed (co-wrote) by Mark Herman, Miramax Films, 1998. Starring Brenda Blethyn, Michael Caine, Ewan McGregor and Jane Horrocks.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Question: What keeps you weak, afraid to try, or forces you to stay within your own safe bubble? Fear! I know everyone is afraid of something. Disappointment, fear of more sadness or the failure that will come again if you decide to go outside your comfort zone, so you stand still because fear has a choke-hold on you. Little Voice shows a young woman whose life's only happiness is listening to the records her father owned because her world ended when he died and so did her ability see beyond her own pain. Fear has paralyzed her.

I remember seeing this movie when it first came out about 13 years ago or so but really couldn't remember much of it. Yes, that is so unlike me. However, if you follow me and my reviews your jaw is about to drop at my next sentence. I only chose this movie on Netflix instant play because Brenda Blethyn and Michael Caine were listed as the top actors in Little Voice, but when I started it Ewan McGregor's name came up in the opening credits. Instantly I smiled but thought, "How could I forget he was in this movie?" I pushed that thought aside quickly because I was now in my own little bubble - watching a movie - and surprisingly content for the first time in a while. I was able to relax and enjoy this movie all over again.

Little Voice or LV is a shy, timid girl who hangs out in her attic bedroom room listening to records - not CDs - records of the 1950's and 1960's with artists like Judy Garland, Shirley Bassie and Marilyn Monroe. She shuts out the rest of the world when the music starts but you soon realize she is mainly shutting out her abusive mother played by Brenda Blethyn. You witness this domineering women care nothing about her daughter and for the life of it you can't figure out why. I have my theories and it has to do with disappointment - a powerful emotion that can turn a person cold, selfish and sometimes quick to become angry at those they are supposed to love.

During a moment of her mother trying again to find happiness in the only way she knows how, a duel of sorts ensues and the power goes out. LV then uses the only other way to find comfort without the records is to sing - and can she sing! This is the point in the movie you discover that her name is all wrong. I would love to tell you more but will let you discover the talent this woman has that was buried deep inside that had to come out.

Now the best thing about this movie has to be LV and when she sings but you get the feeling something isn't quite right about it all. LV tries desperately to keep her singing to herself in order to cope. However, Michael Caine stars in this film as a low-level talent scout who banks everything on having LV making him a million once he hears her voice. He cunningly convinces LV to perform but there is a consequence to his manipulation. However, that is all I will say about that.

Should I say anything about my favorite actor? Of course! It makes me happy. He is a quiet fellow in this film who enjoys homing pigeons as a hobby. He meets LV and discovers another shy person and for some inexplicable reason they start a friendship. He cares for her like no one else does, watches over her, and is there when she needs him the most. It was sweet to witness a friendship like that.

Little Voice is a movie about finding the ability to stand on your own two feet and overcoming a debilitating fear. Some of the scenes were a bit over the top especially with the abusive mother. However, sometimes showing people whose fears have swallowed them up, which in turn causes their reactions towards others to be less than kind can show how the abused person can become paralyzed and seeks refuge alone. It ain't pretty but it made the point well. Fortunately, there was some great music to balance out some of the ugliness.

This is based on the play "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice" which was written for Jane Horrocks and her talent.

My favorite part: The times when LV sings. Now close your mouth - yes, he was my second favorite but I am biased.

My least favorite: I am not going to say on this one.

Rating: R
Length: 97 minutes

Review: 6 out of 10
May 22, 2012
Tired of Previews
Tired of Previews

Super Reviewer

The dazzling talents of Jane Horrocks, the wonderful performance from Brenda Blethyn and the sleezy, yet comical role for Michael Caine, make for an entertaining, original idea of a film.

Talent versus performance for this shrinking violet, who's ambition is every body eles bar her own.
September 10, 2010
76Majikat

Super Reviewer

I quite liked Little Voice! Jane Horrocks was pretty amazing in the title role and although Brenda Blethyn usually annoys me, she was well suited to the role. It is Caine however who really steals the show, his suicidal/F**k you song at the end of the film was quite spectacular!
August 5, 2010
SirPant

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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