Little Voice

1998

Little Voice

Critics Consensus

Little Voice brings its award-winning source material to the screen in style, elevated by a commanding lead performance from Jane Horrocks.

79%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 48

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,701
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Little Voice Photos

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.

Cast

Adam Fogerty
as Bouncer
James Welh
as Bouncer
Karen Gregory
as Stripper
Fred Feast
as Arthur
Graham Turner
as LV's Dad
George Olivier
as Pawnbroker
Virgil Tracy
as Loan Advisor
Dick Van Winkle
as Money Lender
Howard Grace
as Talent Scout
Alex Norton
as Bunnie Morris
Melodie Scales
as George's Girlfriend
Kitty Roberts
as Brenda Bailey
Fred Gaunt
as Wild Trigger Smith
Sean Hadland
as Take Fat Member
Roger Neville
as Take Fat Member
Paul Swan
as Take Fat Member
Carl Wittaker
as Take Fat Member
George Bradley
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Geoffrey Emmerson
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Barry Gomersalt
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Angela Harrison
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Jean Hotton
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
David Earl Kemp
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Aiden Lawrence
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Michael Lynskey
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Peter Marshall
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Peter Minns
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Christine Quick
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Len Rangely
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Bob Scott
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Melanie Simpson
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Doug Stewart
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Peter Thompson
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
Stan Wright
as Mr. Boo's Band Member
View All

Critic Reviews for Little Voice

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (10)

Audience Reviews for Little Voice

  • Dec 03, 2015
    Kinky Boots meets Precious; Little Voice is visually dazzling film about a mostly mute shutin with an amazing talent she chooses to conceal from the world. The play setting has been adapted brilliantly to the big screen, as the director hasnt attempted to make it a larger than life picture and keeps it extremely grounded, real and visceral, with a low-budget to boot. What makes the film is the soundtrack of course and the performances, Blethyn in particular who plays the "wicked witch of the west" Mari Hoff - Little Voice's mother. Horrocks' attempts at imitating Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe and others are all fantastic and hilarious. Michael Caine and Ewan McGregor also give strong supporting performances, Caine in particular who also delivers a good song towards the end. It is a film about the secrets we hold and the dreams we dare to dream. It's one of my all-time favourites and I recommend it to those searching for something a pitch-black comedy with a few camp musical numbers. And Jim Broadbent.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 26, 2013
    This is an indictment on the record industry disguised as a light and warm British comedy. The record industry is represented in Michael Caine's character of Ray Say. Ray is just looking for the next big thing. He's not looking for the next big thing because he believes in them or anything like that, he's only doing it for himself, so he can reach bigger and higher heights. Doesn't matter if he's compromising the soul of the music, just as long as he makes money it's okay. This reflects the behavior of most of music labels, as they're just looking to what's popular now and finding ways to exploit for their financial gain. Much like Michael Caine, they'll butter you up and use every charming trick they can to get you to do what you want for them. So if there's anything I liked about the movie, on a far more subtle level, it would be that. I think the movie is good, it's probably a little TOO light for my tastes but it benefits from a damn good cast, highlighted by Michael Caine and Brenda Blethyn. I think these two make the movie far more entertaining than it would've been otherwise. If there's a problem with the comedy in the film is that is the movie is just funny, it's never hilarious. Despite having some really funny people on board, the script just never reaches that level of hilarity. Still, the movie's solid. It tells a good, but predictable, story. And Jane Horrocks definitely delivers the goods as far as the singing in concerned. She has a great talent for mimicry and she gets to showcase that in this film, and she shines at it really. I did feel that the ending felt completely flat though. It is a symbolic shot, but I felt that something was missing from this ending. I don't want to say it was unexpected, but it felt like there should've been more after this scene. This movie isn't perfect, I think it's too light and it doesn't really use talents of its cast fully, it was a little predictable and the ending felt a little flat...but it's still good. Solid cast, solid writing make this a pretty good movie.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • 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.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 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
    Tired of P Super Reviewer

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