A waif comes out of her shell only when she sings in the style of her late Dad's beloved Garland, Monroe, Bassey, et al. Her domineering Mum and a small-time agent try to turn her into a star. That's about it for plot, which hangs on two questions: is timid 'Little Voice' (Horrocks) up to showcasing her talents in public, and if so, will this destroy her or set her free? Based on Jim Cartwright's play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Herman's film is a polished, populist effort whose virtues and flaws are soon apparent. The former include a river of verbal and visual gags, Broadbent and McGregor's supporting turns as a nightclub boss and LV's innocent soulmate, and, best of all, Caine's complex tour de force as the sleazy impresario desperate for a last shot at the big time. On the downside, Blethyn's monstrous mum is an OTT caricature of working class vulgarity, Horrocks is irritatingly gormless until she transforms into a sock it to 'em diva, and Herman derives as little mileage from most of the underwritten minor characters as he does from the tatty glamour of the Scarborough setting. A lively if finally rather cruel comic fantasy.