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Little Voice


Little Voice

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Imagine a lightened-up version of Brian DePalma's Carrie, then substitute the ability to sing showtunes for telekinetic powers, and you'll get a pretty good idea of Mark Herman's poorly realized adaptation of Jim Cartwright's weird play The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice. Jane Horrocks reprises her stage role as Little Voice, a withdrawn young woman so nicknamed because of her tiny speaking voice. Living with her obnoxious, oppressive mother, Brenda Blethyn, Horrocks' only outlet is the music her deceased father used to play: Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, and Marilyn Monroe. But when sleazy, has-been talent scout Michael Caine learns of Horrocks' amazing ability to mimic the big-voiced singers with whom she's obsessed, he sees money to be made. Against the wishes of her shy suitor (Ewan McGregor), who spends most of his time toying with carrier pigeons, Horrocks agrees to perform at the local dive. Though it's got some funny one-liners, sight gags, and Blethyn's over-the-top histrionics, Little Voice is often painfully dramatic, right down to its final mother-daughter confrontation (which could have used a few flying knives for effect). Horrocks reportedly supplied all the remarkable singing voices herself, live on the set, but the point is sort of lost when the performance is presented on film rather than in person.