The film version of Jim Cartwright’s very successful stage play, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, is both funny and moving. Jane Horrocks (previously known for her role as the daft secretary in Absolutely Fabulous) plays the part of the isolated and painfully shy Little Voice (LV). She lives with her loud and brash mother Mari (Brenda Blethyn) in a red-bricked council house and spends her days locked away in her room. Her only escape is through her impersonations of Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey from her beloved dead father’s record collection. Pigeon-fancier Billy (Ewan McGregor) is her equally reticent boyfriend.
Mari’s boyfriend, the sleazy and manipulative Ray, is played brillantly by Michael Caine. He sees a stage career for LV as his big chance in showbiz management and with Mari’s eager assistance, they try to aggressively persuade LV to perform at the local club. Set in a rundown English town, the film may not be as ‘feelgood’ as other recent British films like The Full Monty, or Billy Elliot, but its sense of the characters’ entrapment in their own lives is conveyed with a powerful punch as well as plenty of humour.
UK/US 1998 Drama 96 mins Director: Mark Herman