the Thinking Chicks Guide to Movies

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Little Voice (1998)

Reviewed on 2007 February 2

Why don’t we see Jane Horrocks in more movies? She can act and sing!

She was amazing in this film — she plays LV Hoff, a painfully timid soul living with her wild woman mother Mari (Brenda Blethyn). Mr. Hoff passed on, leaving them an aging home over a record store and a collection of music that’s the only solace for LV. LV still misses her father horribly, and it’s understandable. Mari is the boozy, trampy, shrill mum that’s the stuff that After School Specials and psychiatry cases are made of. She’s the one that gave her almost silent daughter her nickname, for Little Voice. Mari badgers her daughter to speak more and makes harsh comments about her reclusive nature, little realizing LV just shuts up because she knows she couldn’t be heard over her overbearing mother anyway. The only one who seems remotely interested in her is Billy (Ewan McGregor), a shy neighbor that has a soft spot for his pet pigeons. Mari is looking for a new sugar daddy, and she thinks she finds one in Ray Say (Michael Caine), a talent agent with a big red classic car and bigger jewelry. When he hears LV channeling such singers as Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey, he’s less interested in Mari and more interested in that cash cow hiding upstairs. He’s going to make her a star, whether she wants to be or not!

This is a great movie, for the acting and for Horrocks’ amazing singing. She can growl like Marlene Dietrich and bubble like Marilyn Monroe in the same breath. Michael Caine is always good, and he’s wonderful as the cheerfully sleazy Ray Say. Brenda Blethyn is unforgettable as her tacky mother. This would make an interesting double feature with The Full Monty.

Three chocolate morsels.


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