L.V. (Jane Horrocks) spends most of her life in her room, listening to her late father's record collection, and performing perfect imitations of Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland and other famous female singers of the past. Her life changes dramatically when two men take an interest in her. The first is young telephone engineer and pigeon fancier Billy (Ewan McGregor), who has hopes of romance with L.V. The second is small time agent Ray Say (Michael Caine) who, halfway through a drunken fumble with her mother, hears L.V. singing upstairs. He is entranced, and thinks she can be his ticket to the big time. He arranges for her to sing at the local club run by Mr Boo (Jim Broadbent), but L.V.'s shyness and lack of preparation leads to disaster. Ray perseveres though, and is sure he can get L.V. to find her voice and perform in front of an adoring audience and under the gaze of big time London promoter Bunnie Morris (Alex Norton).
As a stage to screen transfer, Little Voice is only fitfully successful. Its attempts at symbolism are a little heavy-handed, its characters are often crudely drawn and the story sort of falls apart in its final act. But it's occasionally funny script makes it moderately entertaining and it's worth seeing for the performances of Michael Caine and Jane Horrocks in particular. And Caine fans can celebrate the fact that his career renaissance began here.
Little VoiceYear: 1998
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Mark Herman
Cast Jane Horrocks (L.V.), Brenda Blethyn (Mari Hoff), Ewan McGregor (Billy), Michael Caine (Ray Say), Philip Jackson (George), Jim Broadbent (Mr Boo), Annette Badland (Sadie), Karen Gregory (Stripper), Fred Feast (Arthur), Graham Turner (L.V.'s Dad), Howard Grace (Talent Scout), Alex Norton (Bunnie Morris), Melodie Scales (George's girlfriend)
Screenplay Mark Herman, based on the play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright Producer Elizabeth Karlsen Cinematography Andy Collins Production design Don Taylor Editor Michael Ellis Music John Altman Costume design Lindy Hemming
Running time 97 mins Colour Deluxe
Production company Scala Films Distributor Miramax