In a poor working class London home Penny's love for her partner, taxi-driver Phil, has run dry, but when an unexpected tragedy occurs, they and their local community are brought together, and they rediscover their love.
Set in the 1880s, the story of how, during a creative dry spell, the partnership of the legendary musical/theatrical writers Gilbert and Sullivan almost dissolves, before they turn it all around and write the Mikado.
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
Mike Leigh has done it again. I adore "Secrets and Lies", my 2nd
favorite film of all time and Leigh strikes gold again in the
emotionally draining, brilliantly directed study of a 50's era
abortionist in London. Imelda Staunton gives, yet another in Leigh's
film, outstandingly powerful and true performance as Vera Drake. She a
inner-city housewife and mother, who spends much of her free time
trying to "help out" the poor ladies of 50's London who are unable to
get legal abortions. Some may consider this a hot-topic issue film, but
it's moreover an independent study of a woman and her life, and how her
emotions play in her world. Every nuance of this film is perfectly
crafted, from every performance, to the sets, and the cinematography.
The emotions overflow steadily, especially after the traumatic dinner
scene where the police arrive for Vera. The look of horror that
Staunton displays and changes as she realizes what is happening is
acting and direction at it's best. Why is it American films aren't able
to capture this from it's performers? I can't praise this film enough
and truly believe that this will be my favorite film of the year. It's
a shame this film got only a small release and audiences seemed unmoved
by it. I don't understand it. Hopefully DVD will allow those who missed
it to catch up with it and relish in it's brilliance. It will be a
rewarding experience for all to see. I am praying for Oscar noms all
around, but especially for Staunton. It is clearly and without any
doubt, the best female performance as of this date, this year.
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