Little Voice Reviews
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.
Length: 97 minutes
Review: 6 out of 10
Talent versus performance for this shrinking violet, who's ambition is every body eles bar her own.
But LV has a talent which nobody knows of except for her mother - LV has a knack of being able to impersonate legendary singers such as Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland... that is until, Mari's latest fella, local talent scout Ray Say, hears her sing.
Once Ray hears LV, he decides that he will do anything in his power to make her top of the bill. The questions are will the reluctant LV play ball and will there be consequences that Ray and Mari haven't figured for?
Little Voice is based upon the stage play "The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice" and as somebody who has seen the stage version, this film is a faithful conversion to the big screen.
Jane Horrocks is fantastic as LV. She embodies the two aspects of the character perfectly - out of her comfort zone, Horrocks is believable as the shrinking violet whilst on stage she has a fantastic voice when impersonating the songstresses required within the film.
Brenda Blethyn is perfectly cast in the role of LV's mother, Mari Hoff. The character is vicious, shallow, self serving and a slave to her need to think that's she still a hit with the men and Blethyn pulls off the role.
Michael Caine stars as Ray Say. He takes on the role with gusto as the agent who sees Pound Signs when he hears LV sing for the first time. The character is very much the male equivalent of Mari - equally shallow, vicious and self serving.
As much as Caine compliments Blethyn, Ewan McGregor compliments Jane Horrocks in the role of Billy, the shy telephone engineer who treats LV as a person and not a nuisance or a commodity.
Support comes from Annette Badland who portrays Mari's friend Sadie, Philip Jackson as Billy's work colleague George and Jim Broadbent as local club compere Mr Boo.
With the small main cast, this film has the feel of the stage show that inspired it. A Comedy Drama which has a tinge of the Musical, this is a heartwarming film about a woman who wants to find her own voice and finds it in the most surprising of ways.
you shouldn't watch this if you're not a fan of the music though. That's where it derives its joy.
Oh-so-rarely is a single scene enough to warrant a recommendation, but with Little Voice that holds true. Fortunately, the rest of the movie delivers plenty of entertainment, but the real show-stopper occurs when the incredible singing mimic Jane Horrocks runs through a list of, well, show-stoppers. From Shirley Bassey to Judy Garland to Marlene Dietrich, she knocks 'em all out of the park. Oh, Michael Caine and Jim Broadbent are excellent too, as is perhaps the bravest, no-holds-barred performance given by Brenda Blethyn.
Great film and one that got very little initial exposure.
I love rooting out all these gems from amid the gaudy, overrated garbage foist upon the moviegoing public! -- Troy Merrick