Vera Drake

Vera Drake

Mike Leigh (2004)

119min
12A Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Set in the repressed and repressive Britain of 1950, director Mike Leigh's drama hinges on a stunning, Bafta-winning lead performance from Imelda Staunton. She plays an altruistic but naive cleaning lady who secretly helps out unfortunate girls by performing backstreet abortions. But when her actions are discovered, the law - and, at first, her own family - reprimands her severely. Staunton is nothing less than superb, conveying a world of misery with the merest of looks. Equally fine are the support performances (especially Phil Davis as her husband, Stan), plus Leigh's impeccable re-creation of both place and period. If there's one small criticism to be made of the film, it's perhaps a touch too relentlessly dark and dour. Otherwise, this is as good, if as grim, as it gets.

Summary

A kindly woman living in 1950s London carries out discreet illegal abortions for women in desperate straits, an activity she keeps secret from her family. However, the business is exposed when a young woman falls seriously ill after the operation, leaving her facing prosecution. Mike Leigh's drama, starring Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis, Eddie Marsan and Sally Hawkins.

Cast & Crew

Vera Drake Imelda Staunton
Stan Drake Philip Davis
Det Inspector Webster Peter Wight
Frank Adrian Scarborough
Joyce Heather Craney
Sid Drake Daniel Mays
Ethel Drake Alex Kelly
Susan Wells Sally Hawkins
Reg Eddie Marsan
Lily Ruth Sheen
WPC Best Helen Coker
Susan's confidante Fenella Woolgar
Mrs Wells Lesley Manville
Jessie Barnes Lesley Sharp
Judge Jim Broadbent
Private doctor Nicky Henson
Psychiatrist Allan Corduner
Director Mike Leigh
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Momentum PicturesGuidance: Some swearing.Available on: video and DVDReleased on: 7 Jan 2005
Drama