Painfully shy ‘Little Voice’ (LV to her friends) has a secret talent – she can mimic famous singers perfectly.
Her talents are belatedly recognised by sleazy agent Ray Say (Michael Caine), who’s prepared to endure the attentions of her sexually predatory mother, Mari (Brenda Blethyn) as long as he can make some money out of that voice.
He pushes her into a public performance at the local club and Jane Horrocks reprises her stage performance with virtuoso impersonations of the great singers – among them Shirley Bassey and Judy Garland – contrast with her almost total shyness.
The brilliance of Horrocks is slightly undermined by director Mark Herman’s crude depiction of working-class life in a northern seaside town while Blethyn’s strident squawking almost threatens to drown out the more subtle, Cinderella-like undertones of the story.
But there’s good support from Jim Broadbent as a nightclub boss and Ewan McGregor as the bashful singer’s would-be suitor.
In any other country, this would have made Horrocks a major star.
Laura Hoff (‘LV’)