Little Voice (film)

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Little Voice
Little Voice.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Mark Herman
Produced by Elizabeth Karlsen
Written by Mark Herman
Based on The Rise and Fall of Little Voice
by Jim Cartwright
Starring Jane Horrocks
Brenda Blethyn
Michael Caine
Ewan McGregor
Jim Broadbent
Music by John Altman
Cinematography Andy Collins
Edited by Michael Ellis
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • 4 December 1998 (1998-12-04)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $4,611,784

Little Voice is a 1998 British musical written and directed by Mark Herman and made in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. The screenplay is based on Jim Cartwright’s play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.


Laura Hoff, who lives in a working-class home in Scarborough, is known as LV (short for Little Voice) for her shyness. She flees reality by mimicking voices like Édith Piaf’s, Judy Garland’s, and Shirley Bassey’s; her love of songs is her only source of strength. Her mother Mari, a profligate woman with countless affairs, jilts a man when her passion wanes.

Billy, an installer who mends their phone, approaches LV by sending her pamphlets. Things improve when Mari is seeing Ray: He hears the girl sing, spots her gift and vows to make her a star, while Mari, who dislikes singing, still doubts her child. When LV is to sing at a nightclub, she visions her father to help perform well.

Ray’s futile attempts to goad LV dash him. Mari, who still scorns her child, prods her against her will. When wrongly accused of arson, LV responds by screaming in her mother's face. Blaming Mari for her father’s death and her (LV's) meek nature with her domineering attitude. She walks away saying her name isn't Little Voice, it's Laura.

Mari is left by everyone; Ray is facing his debt-collectors, and LV is saved by Billy.


Soundtrack [edit]

The following songs are performed by Horrocks:

Critical reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an 79% rating based on 48 reviews.[1]

Janet Maslin wrote in her New York Times review, "Horrocks’s phenomenal mimicry of musical grande dames from Marlene Dietrich to Marilyn Monroe, lavishing special loving care on Judy Garland, makes a splendid centerpiece for the otherwise more ordinary film built around it."[2]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times felt the story was "amusing but uneven" and that the film "seems to have all the pieces in place for another one of those whimsical, comic British slices of life. But the movie doesn’t quite deliver the way we think it will. One problem is that the Michael Caine character, sympathetic and funny in the opening and middle scenes, turns mean at the end for no good reason. Another is that the romance, and a manufactured crisis, distract from the true climax of the movie. That would be Jane Horrocks’ vocal performance . . . she is amazing. Absolutely fabulous."[3]

In Variety, Derek Elley called the film "a small picture with a big heart", adding, "The film has almost everything going for it, with the exceptions of a somewhat lopsided structure in which the climax comes two-thirds of the way through and a romantic subplot that plays like an afterthought. Nevertheless, smooth direction by Mark Herman and juicy performances by a host of Brit character actors . . . ensure an entertaining ride . . . Horrocks, whose combo of gamin physique and big vocal talent make the title role seem unthinkable for any other actress, is a revelation, handling moments of solo emotion and onstage strutting with equal, moving panache."[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]


External links[edit]