Vera Drake (12A)

Best of British

Director: Mike Leigh
Starring: Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis, Daniel Mays, Alex Kelly
UK, 2004, 2 hours 5 minutes

A period piece from the drab, repressed ‘50s in which cheery charlady and secret abortionist Vera is the light of human kindness who is always helping her many friends and neighbours. The lynchpin of a respectable working class family to whom she is devoted, her help extends to those unfortunate girls ‘in trouble’. Focusing closely on Vera’s story and its repercussions for her family, the complexity of the moral issues and social inequities are keenly felt. Full of the sharp observations and the richness of the everyday that are Leigh’s trademark, this is at first amusing, but finally heartbreaking, as Vera goes from cheery stoic to shamed, broken woman.

Winner of Best Film & Best Actress Venice Film Festival 2004

Nominated for 3 Oscars for Best Actress, Best Director & Best Screenplay

“Mike Leigh’s masterpiece” The Guardian

See this if you liked Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy

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