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Little Voice (1998)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  4 December 1998 (USA)
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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 ... See full summary »



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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mr. Boo
James Welsh ...
Karen Gregory ...
Fred Feast ...
Graham Turner ...
LV's Dad
George Oliver ...
Virgil Tracy ...
Loan Advisor
Dick Van Winkle ...
Money Lender


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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


Finding your own voice can be magic. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

4 December 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cordes sensibles  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


LV's name is Laura. See more »


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 »


Mari Hoff: What's up with you lots, never had a shag in a Chevy?
See more »

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 »


References TFI Friday (1996) See more »


Written by John Barry/Leslie Bricusse (as Lesley Bricusse)/Anthony Newley
Published by EMI United Partnership Limited
Performed by Shirley Bassey
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Music Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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