For something called Little Voice (Disc/Download), this might be one of the loudest movies I’ve ever experienced. From the shrill nagging of Brenda Blethyn, to Michael Caine’s tour-de-force meltdown, to the amazing musical mimicry by Jane Horrocks, my ears are still ringing. Let’s take a quiet breath before we discuss a magical movie that fostered my love of the classic chanteuse.
Set in a crappy seaport town, Little Voice is part of the late ‘90s heyday of quirky British cinema. Films like Brassed Off, Billy Elliott, and The Full Monty give the impression that England is a cold, grey place where everyone’s broke, the food is terrible, but somehow people can sing and dance really well. As Little Voice, Jane Horrocks plays a young woman clearly on the autism spectrum, who has the ability to mimic the famous female singers in her father’s record collection. She belts out all the standards, sounding EXACTLY like Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe, and others. Her promiscuous, neglectful mother dismisses her talent, until third-rate manager Ray Say (played by Michael Caine in one of his most impressive roles) decides LV could be his new cash cow. They’re cruel enough to be Disney villains, if we’re viewing Little Voice as the endangered princess and Ewan McGregor her pigeon-raising prince. This movie isn’t for everyone, but if you love old records and the cockney accent of Michael Caine, you won’t be disappointed.
Reuniting Moulin Rouge actors Ewan McGregor and Jim Broadbent, Little Voice places Broadbent in the role of Master of Ceremonies once again- this time at Mr. Boo’s nightclub. He’s got greasy, stringy hair and a sequined jacket, yet he’s the only one who seems to have even half a heart in this abusive situation. While watching Little Voice, I recommend drinking this Boo’s Muse.
1 ½ oz Gin
½ oz Campari
½ oz Simple Syrup
¾ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Orange Juice
Combine gin, Campari, simple syrup, lemon and orange juices in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Top with sparkling rosé. Garnish with an orange twist.
In the end, I still love that this film celebrates the female voice. Whether it’s Judy, or Marilyn, or Brenda Blethyn screeching at the top of her lungs, they all have the power to stop men in their tracks. Little Voice’s songs may not be original, but this character is one of a kind. Cheers!