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
Despite Mike Leigh's reputation, the film's budget was so tight that they ran out of money close to the end of shooting. Leigh and the cast rehearsed for another week before shooting restarted. See more »
The young girl tells the psychiatrist that her father works for the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence was created in a 1968 merger of the War Office, Air Ministry, and Admiralty. 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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