Laura (Jane Horrocks) is a shy and reclusive young woman who spends most of her days in her room listening to music from her deceased father's cherished record collection. Her nickname "LV" stands for Little Voice since when she speaks, which is rarely, it is with squeaky sounds. Her mother Mari (Brenda Blethyn) is a loud, garish woman who has little love and no respect for her mousy daughter. She is having a fling with Ray Say (Michael Caine), a past-his-prime talent agent who used to work in London. When he hears Laura singing in her room, he realizes that she could be his ticket back to the big time.

Oozing charm and sympathy, Ray convinces the reluctant Laura to sing some of her impersonations of Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Bassey, and Marlene Dietrich at a local nightclub run by Mr. Boo (Jim Broadbent). Of course, when Mari finds out that Ray is more interested in Laura than he is in her, she is enraged.

This comedy is written and directed by Mark Herman (Brassed Off) based on the 1992 London play by Jim Cartwright. Although a subplot revolves around Laura's romance with Billy (Ewan McGregor), a telephone engineer who raises pigeons, the real thrust of the drama is this transformed young woman's return to the land of the living. After her debut at the club, which she does in tribute to her father, Laura realizes that marching to the beat of Ray's drum is not for her. By listening to her inner voice, she decides to begin her own journey into the outer world.