Little Voice - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Little Voice Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2012
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.
Tired of Previews
Super Reviewer
October 16, 2011
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
Super Reviewer
½ April 4, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2007
The actress who played LV was amazing. I hated her mother by the end and I'm glad she finally had it out with her. Ewan McGregor was so adorable.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2007
Excellent story about a timid girl with an amazing voice. Great cast.
Super Reviewer
May 9, 2007
Jane Horrocks is AMAZING as the meek young woman who is able to sing in the voices of her heroes -- Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Bassey and Judy Garland. Brenda Blethyn as her braying ass of a mother and Michael Caine as the has-been (or is it never-was) promoter trying to get rich off Little Voice, known as LV, if he can only get her out of her room. But she'll only sing for one man.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2007
I know I saw it but I remember thinking it was only okay. Jesus, the 90s were rough...
Super Reviewer
August 25, 2006
One of my favorites.
Theta Sigma
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2011
LV is an introverted young woman who finds it difficult to communicate with people. She also has the added problem of a mother, Mari, who only thinks of herself and whichever unfortunate person is her latest gentleman friend.

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.
Super Reviewer
January 15, 2009
Fun movie. Well acted. Jane Horrocks's impersonations of Judy Garland, Maralyn Monroe, and Shirlley Bassey are uncanny. She cant quite master the latter's booming, elastic voice, but the phrasing and swagger is just right. Flickster tells me this movie was written for this actress, which makes sense since it would be impossible for anyone else to play. Michael Caine is a jolly chap, if a bit of an asshole. I hope to God that that's not how Brenda Blethyn talks in real life cause her accent is pretty atroctious. Once you get used to it though, the old broad is a hoot.

you shouldn't watch this if you're not a fan of the music though. That's where it derives its joy.
Super Reviewer
July 11, 2007
Typically twee dramedy boasts swell perf. from Horrocks, Caine.
Super Reviewer
April 3, 2009
Amazing performances from an amazing cast, but the film badly needs a plot. Either way, Horrocks is sensational.
Super Reviewer
½ September 11, 2007
A really strong cast and a really sweet story.
Super Reviewer
March 7, 2006
Not overly palatable, embarrassing, disturbing and upsetting in places, but fantastic all the same due to the music, naive main character, innocent love interest, great supporting cast and a particularly captivating premise. All the performances are brilliant, especially Horrocks and McGregor.
Super Reviewer
½ October 15, 2008
'Little Voice' Must Be Heard To Be Believed

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.
Super Reviewer
April 10, 2007
A great movie.
Super Reviewer
½ March 25, 2007
Charming and warm hearted. Good music.
½ December 27, 2014
This is a whole lot of fun with a fantastic soundtrack. Brenda Blethyn is on fire as well as Jane Horrocks, Michael Caine, and Jim Broadbant. The musical numbers are fun and the final half hour is perfect.
½ October 13, 2012
"Little Voice" is a very simple movie that is executed wonderfully. Much more imaginative than many romantic comedies, the film is clever, sharp and sweet.
½ March 3, 2012
I've read a lot of reviews of this one, and loving singing myself, I was flabbergasted hearing Jane Horrocks' character LV (Elvie, or Little Voice) belt out an entire concert of big time hits after enduring her initial complete silence. She was such an easy character to root for (I'm rather a shy recluse myself) and watching Michael Caine and Brenda Blethlyn scheme behind her back (or right in front of her after her performance, which she thought would be the only one required) made me cringe and want to personally carry her off to safety.
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
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