Sunday, July 2, 2006

Little Voice

Little Voice(1998)
Directed by Mark Herman
Written by Mark Herman, from a play by Jim Cartwright.
Starring Jane Horrocks, Ewan McGregor, Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, and Brenda Blethyn.
IMDB Entry

Like Brassed Off, Little Voice is about the redemptive power of music. But Jane Horrocks's LV has her own, much more personal, reasons for hers.

Horrocks is best known in the US for the role of "Bubbles" and "Katy Grin" in Absolutely Fabulous.  She was also great as the voice of Babs in Chicken Run.  But Little Voice shows a truly astounding talent.  If the movie musical were in full swing (instead of limping along), she would have been a major star.

Horrocks plays LV -- also know as Little Voice -- a young woman who has the talent to imitate -- no, become -- some of the great singers of the past:  Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, and others. (Horrocks actually does all her own singing -- this was originally a stage play.)  But LV is terminally shy and has no interest in performing on stage.

Enter Michael Caine as Ray Say, a sleezy agent down on his luck.  He hears LV and knows this his ticket back to the big time.  But LV doesn't want to perform.

The cast is stellar.  Jim Broadbent is there, and I'm beginning to think he has never appeared in a bad film.  Broadbent was (and still is) one of the busiest actors in films.  Wait a minute . . . Yes, much of what I said about Pete Postlethwaite also applies to Broadbent.  Take a look at his credits, which include The Crying Game, Widow's Peak, Bullets Over Broadway, Richard III, Topsy Turvy, Bridget Jones's Diary, Iris, Gangs of New York, Moulin Rouge, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Here, he plays Mr. Boo, who runs the night club where LV is going to make her debut.

Ewan McGregor once again shows the charm that had made him a major star as LV's love interest, and Brenda Blethyn plays her mother. The film is charming and a lot of fun, and Horrock's performance -- both as acting and as a singer -- make it well worth seeing.

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