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Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful, mum's ghastly upper-middle-class neighbors, and ... See full summary »
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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
The film was submitted for the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, but as it was denied, Imelda Staunton thought that the film would eventually be released in the UK and have little impact. However, it was then a big success at the Venice Film Festival, and eventually was nominated for several Academy Awards. See more »
Vera's sister-in-law Joyce says she wants a washing machine which costs "twenty five pounds". Until decimalization in 1971, most luxury goods (such as washing machines and men's suits) were priced in guineas not pounds. Interestingly, in the film the cost of the abortion is expressed as two guineas.
(One guinea = one pound one shilling, equivalent to one pound five pence in decimal.)
This was true for some outlets, particularly those wishing to appeal to the middle class or those aspiring to a degree of 'poshness'. Throughout the 1960s most domestic items were priced in £.s.d or Pounds, shillings and pence. Services and professions continued to charge in guineas as an affectation until much later. See more »
Hello George, only me. How are you going today?
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After the end credits it says: "In loving memory of my parents, a doctor and a midwife." See more »
Imelda Staunton is superb and is my bet for the Oscar unless some Hollywood Diva does another "out of character" performance. But she only shines because of the company she keeps.This is ensemble acting at it's finest. No melodramatics, no attempt to steal scenes,and the result is as honest as life itself. This is the way the British talked, almost always indirectly, hedging around issues rather than hitting them head on, and a slave to mannered behavior. Understate, understate, understate.
Having lived in England from 1952 to 1959, and having married someone who was British who grew up during the war and it's aftermath this movie was like "a bit of old home." My mother employed "char ladies" like Vera, although we were "upper middle class" rather than "upper." The class differences were quite distinct in those days, and often determined by accent. What this movie shows is not only the average life of a "lower class" family but the options forced on them that were different from those in the higher brackets of society.
As anyone should know by know the movie is about illegal abortion in a rigid
puritanical society. Illegal, that is, for those without means, but quite available to those who could grease the wheels of the medical establishment who had "legal" ways around the law. In other words if Roe v. Wade goes then Vera's will pop up again.
There is no attempt to make a statement for or against abortion. As Mike Leigh has said: abortion has been in every society for thousands of years. The Vera Drake's who have lived could populate a small city. What this movie does do is emphasize that the Vera's were/are common average people not quasi criminals lurking behind the curtains of some seedy back alley shack, and that legislating morality never addresses the often harsh reality of human society.
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