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Vera Drake (2004)

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Abortionist Vera Drake finds her beliefs and practices clash with the mores of 1950s Britain--a conflict that leads to tragedy for her family.



Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 40 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Graham ...
Anna Keaveney ...
Alex Kelly ...
Mrs. Wells
Mr. Wells
Sandra Voe ...
Vera's Mother
Sid's Customer


Vera Drake is a selfless woman who is completely devoted to, and loved by, her working class family. She spends her days doting on them and caring for her sick neighbor and elderly mother. However, she also secretly visits women and helps them induce miscarriages for unwanted pregnancies. While the practice itself was illegal in 1950s England, Vera sees herself as simply helping women in need, and always does so with a smile and kind words of encouragement. When the authorities finally find her out, Vera's world and family life rapidly unravel. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Wife. Mother. Criminal.


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for depiction of strong thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

4 February 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El secreto de Vera Drake  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,207 (USA) (8 October 2004)


$3,753,806 (USA) (25 March 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Daniel Mays was developing his character, he initially used a lot of obscenities in his speech because he thought that was how a young working-class man like Sid would speak. Mike Leigh advised him that in 1950 a boy like Sid definitely would not have routinely used obscenities, especially around women and his family. See more »


When Sid and his friends are dancing, the music features blaring trumpets. A shot of the band shows only the saxophone and trombone players playing, while the the trumpet player taps his toes. The music also seems to be coming from a much larger band. See more »


[first lines]
Vera: Hello George, only me. How are you going today?
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the end credits it says: "In loving memory of my parents, a doctor and a midwife." See more »


Referenced in Frisky Dingo: Wendell Goes Undercover Again (2008) See more »


Calling All Workers
Written by Eric Coates
(p) 1940 Chappell Recorded Music Library
(c) 1940 Chappell Recorded Music Library
A BMG Zomba Company
See more »

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User Reviews

A Mature director in command.
25 November 2004 | by (new york city) – See all my reviews

I have been a longtime fan of Mike Leigh, always fascinated to see his slice of life take on England. Because of his well known creative process, the intrigue would be to see the actors and the characters and dramas (and comedies) they created. They were always worth watching in a voyeuristic way due to Leigh's unobtrusive camera work.

Vera Drake is well worth seeing for these same reasons, but Leigh has made a bigger and better movie than ever before, even with all of Topsy Turvy's bombast. His ambitions as director are greater than ever. First of all, to take on the subject of abortion is very brave. But I'll leave that for others to discuss. What was of interest to me from the opening shot was that this was going to be a visual tour de force, and it was.

Painting the scenes in dark, crushing browns and greens, with tight camera angles or letting the light in, each scene had the feel of a well thought out canvas, even the cut aways between scenes were new, inventive and beautiful.

And the acting is great and the scenes of the family interacting in close quarters, moving in synch are so pitch perfect you feel they have been doing this for decades.

So if you're thinking of seeing this movie, sit back, relax, and prepare to be taken on a slow, masterful ride.

38 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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