Little Noises

Director: Jane Spencer
Screenwriters: Jane Spencer, John Zeiderman

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


Little Noises is a bittersweet comedy inhabited by a group of totally dysfunctional characters. Joey is an empty-headed, would-be poet/novelist who aspires for the praise and recognition which understandably elude him because he is inept at writing. His coworker at the perfume counter, Stella, is the fuel that drives his desire for success. Timmy, his friend, is a self-pro-claimed actor/mime/juggler who is convinced an audition with an agent's receptionist will be the first step toward stardom. And Marty is the neighborhood's gentle mute, whose inability to speak is offset by his beautifully written prose. Joey appropriates Marty's poems, passing them off as his own to the pathetically arrogant, posturing literary agent, Mathias, in the hope of acquir-ing his dreams. Ironically, because of Joey's duplicity, success rains down on him.

Little Noises is filled with a sense of personal loss. But the story has considerable charm, and this anchors the humorously bizarre characters and helps color the film's emotional subtlety. All the actors play their characters with some peculiarity•, so that no one character stands out as disproportionately weird. In fact Crispin Glover, as Joey, is uncharacteristicly delicate in his performance, offering us a glimpse of his range in a role he has defined for himself. Special mention must go to newcomer Steven Schub as Timmy; his compassion and exuberance contribute a vital spark to the film. Jane Spencer has managed to create a unique film that is at the same time touching and strangely funny, a contemporary story of failure.

— Alberto Garcia

Screening Details

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