Little Voice (1998)

Late-year leftover and what-were-they-smoking? critical darling 
LITTLE VOICE-- which opened in one and only one Triangle theater 
last week and now I understand why-- is a colorful-but-crass adap-
tation of the London stage musical showcasing actress Jane Hor-
rocks' amazing vocal mimicry.  She can do Garland, Bassey, and 
other pop greats to spine-chilling effect.  And yet, in this most 
unappealing filmed version, she sings all of four songs.  Maybe 
five.  The rest of the 99 minutes-that-feel-like-twice-that are 
devoted to an equally shy love interest (future Jedi Knight Ewan 
McGregor), the girl's overbearing-times-ten mother (Oscar nominee 
Brenda Blethyn, more off-putting than amusing), and the local tal-
ent agent (an uninteresting Michael Caine) who sees a pot of gold 
somewhere over the rainbow.  The plot has both lads discovering the 
squeaky voiced recluse roughly around the same time.  Caine's char-
acter convinces her to sing, to both expected and surprise effect.  
McGregor's character-- a phone-repairing pigeon keeper-- flutters 
around the fringe, adding all too little to the increasingly un-
pleasant story.  (Watching the final reel, with its harsh dramatic 
turns, is rather like seeing two trains collide in slow motion.  
You're horrified and yet... you can't turn away.)  Ultimately it's 
the assaulting tone that cracks this VOICE.  And Brenda B's relent-
lessly loud performance.  (What, does she think she's onstage?)  
Even with a top cast, a minable plot, and Horrock's terrific tal-
ents, the movie never stops yelling at the top of its lungs.  And 
this is one viewer who wanted to plug his ears...  Not subtitled 
but it should be.  Written and directed by Mark Herman.  (Rated 
"R"/99 min.)

Grade: C-

Copyright 1999 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Big Headache

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros