7.0/10
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160 user 63 critic

Little Voice (1998)

A shy reclusive lady is convinced by an invisible entity to sing. Subsequently, she finds herself noticed by a sleazy talent agent and her talent being showcased on-stage. She also meets a kind but nervous man who becomes her best friend.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
LV
...
...
George
...
Sadie
...
...
...
Bouncer
James Welsh ...
Bouncer
Karen Gregory ...
Stripper
...
Arthur
Graham Turner ...
LV's Dad
George Oliver ...
Pawnbroker
Virgil Tracy ...
Loan Advisor
Dick Van Winkle ...
Money Lender
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Storyline

The pathetically shy LV lives the life of a recluse listening to her late father's old records in her room and in the process driving her abusive, loud-mouthed mother, Mari Hoff, to distraction. At night, however, when her father's ghost visits, LV sings the songs of the great divas such as Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Bassey. One evening LV is overheard by one of her mother's loathsome boyfriends, the disastrous dead-end talent scout Ray Say, who recognizes her innate talent and realizes this is his last big chance for the glittering prizes. Gambling everything Ray Say forces LV to appear at a local run-down, seedy night club run by Mr. Boo. As preparations for the big event proceed apace LV meets the equally shy Billy, a pigeon-racing telephone engineer and they form a tentative, gentle friendship. The big night finally arrives and everything is in readiness, the band, the club and even a big agent from London, but what about LV? Written by Mark Smith <msmith@osi.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

talent | mother | shy | recluse | singer | See All (102) »

Taglines:

A Comedy That Breaks the Records. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

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 »
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Details

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Release Date:

4 December 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cordes sensibles  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$93,722 (USA) (4 December 1998)

Gross:

$4,595,000 (USA) (26 March 1999)
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Company Credits

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,  »
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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The male strippers in the film, perform to the song "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba. The full version of this song opens with some sampled dialogue "Truth is, I thought it mattered. I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks! Not compared to how people matter..." which comes from the closing scene of Mark Herman's earlier hit Brassed Off (1996). See more »

Goofs

Quote from Mari Hoff: "What's up with you lots, never had a shag in a Chevy?" Ray Say's car is a 1972 Delta 88 Oldsmobile Convertible See more »

Quotes

Mari Hoff: Come on, knock out a bit, make way for a woman in lust.
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Crazy Credits

Special Thanks to ... Jason Wheeler and Team, ... Staff at St. Nicholas Hotel, Wreahead Hotel and East Ayton Lodge, ... The People of Scarborough ... North Yorkshire Police (Scarborough Department), Scarborough Borough Council, South Bay Traders Association, Haven Holidays (Cayton Bay), Stephen Joseph Theatre. See more »

Connections

References Goldfinger (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

I Wanna Be Loved By You
Written by Bert Kalmar/Harry Ruby/Herbert Stothart
© Warner Bros Inc/EH Morris & Co Inc/Harry Ruby Music Co
By kind permission of Warner/Chappell Music Limited
Performed by Jane Horrocks
Arranged by John Altman
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

a review for American audiences
12 February 2001 | by (Atlanta) – See all my reviews

An absorbing, fanciful, and sometimes astonishing film, Little Voice is a modern fairy tale that owes a bit to both pop psychology and, of all things, the musical Annie. The film thrusts us into the peculiarly flawed world of a young woman still living in her childhood home. Her nickname, LV (Little Voice) is pronounced in her mother's thick, northern English accent as "Elvie." In fact, her chief problem is her caustic mother, played with tragicomic skill by Brenda Blethyn, who received an Oscar nomination for the role.

Blethyn's Mrs. Hoff is in many ways like the awful Miss Hannigan of Annie's orphanage, who, were it not for the story's overall comic mood, would be overwhelmingly evil. Instead, Blethyn invests the role with a horny rowdiness that helps dilute Mrs. Hoff's self-absorption and cruelty. LV, in response, confines herself to her tidy, attic bedroom in her mother's otherwise cluttered house.

Though the timid and virtually silent LV lacks Annie's cheerful spunk, both yearn for their absent parents-LV for her dead father, who appears to her, soundless and gentle, whenever she is frightened.

But what LV usually does in response to her mother's constant stream of verbal abuse and generally noisy demeanor is to play her father's cherished record collection at top volume. It is in the voices of the women on the records that LV communicates with her mother and most other people. Though Jane Horrocks says little in the title role, when LV does make noise, it is in remarkable, pitch-perfect imitation of these women, namely, Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, and even Marilyn Monroe. At first, I was convinced that this was a lip-synch, but Horrocks changes the tempo and inflection to match LV's mood. Indeed, the first thing that appears in the credits at the conclusion of Little Voice is a note that Horrocks sang all of LV's vocal performances. Wow.

Little Voice will remind American audiences of the recent trend in British cinema that embraces down-on-their-luck characters from the UK's industrial north and the shuns the charmless folk who populate Merchant-Ivory-esque period dramas. Little Voice's characters reminded me of both the pitiable unemployed steelworkers of The Full Monty and the rotten Scottish heroin addicts of Trainspotting. Michael Caine combines these comic and serious elements into a convincing performance as Ray, the seedy promoter who wishes to cash in on LV's extraordinary gift. Caine is the foxy Honest John to LV's Pinocchio, and typifies the sense of desperate amorality such characters face when they have pawned their goods and their limbs in order to bankroll a reckless scheme.

With its quirky characterizations and working-class English setting, Little Voice may not be for everyone, but the film's story is timeless, the performances are energetic, and Horrocks's singing might just knock you out of your seat. Little Voice is a truly gratifying film.


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