[box cover]

Little Voice

"L.V." (Jane Horrocks) is a soft-spoken girl from East London. Well, actually, she doesn't speak much at all. Since the death of her father, she has lived above the family record shop with her man-chasing mother Mari (Brenda Blethyn), never going out and just staying in her room playing classic records from her father's collection. Mari doesn't understand L.V., regarding her as an indecipherable little git and the chief burden of her existence. It is only when Mari starts dating sleazy talent manger Ray Say (Michael Caine) that the tacky impresario discovers something about L.V. that Mari never bothered to notice — namely, that the young lass has listened to so many classic records that she can perfectly mimic all of the great singers, including Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, and Marilyn Monroe. Ray smells money, and Mari realizes she could use her prodigious offspring to lead him to the altar. The only problem is that L.V. doesn't want to sing in public, and it takes all of the shifty machinations that Ray can muster to get her in front of a big band and a money-paying crowd. Featuring splendid performances from the entire cast, Little Voice is another wonderful Brit-com, following on the heels of such other crowd-pleasers as The Full Monty and Waking Ned Devine, but it manages to find more heart at the center of its Cinderella-esqe story, in addition to broader performances from those who surround L.V., as the selfish mother and boyfriend cajole, threaten, and pander to their young prodigy. Blethyn is both funny and incredibly vulgar, and Caine hits on one of the best roles he's taken in a long time, letting loose with his rough-around-the-edges Cockney charm. Ewan McGregor gives an original turn as an introverted telephone installer who is just as soft-spoken as L.V. and the only person who wants her to stand up for herself. But Horrocks (a familiar figure to fans of "Absolutely Fabulous") walks away with the entire movie, performing all of her own singing impressions with astonishing skill. You have to hear it to believe it — and even then, you may not. Good transfer, DD 5.1, trailer.

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