7.7/10
21,843
169 user 170 critic

Vera Drake (2004)

Trailer
2:22 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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

Director:

Mike Leigh

Writer:

Mike Leigh
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 41 wins & 40 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen
Another Year (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
Career Girls (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

2 young women reunite and rekindle their friendship after having said goodbye at their college graduation, six years earlier.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Katrin Cartlidge, Lynda Steadman, Kate Byers
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A look at a few chapters in the life of Poppy, a cheery, colorful, North London schoolteacher whose optimism tends to exasperate those around her.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a underprivileged white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Phyllis Logan
Topsy-Turvy (1999)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Dexter Fletcher
Life Is Sweet (1990)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A shop assistant, her cook husband, & their twin daughters ponder their lives over a few weeks in a working-class suburb north of London.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Claire Skinner
High Hopes (1988)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The life of a working class couple living in London and their complicated relationships with other members of the family.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Phil Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Doré
Mr. Turner (2014)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson
Bleak Moments (1971)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Moments from the uncompromisingly bleak existence of a secretary, her intellectually disabled sister, aloof and uneasy teacher boyfriend, bizarre neighbor and irritating workmate.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Anne Raitt, Sarah Stephenson, Eric Allan
Naked (1993)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge
Meantime (TV Movie 1983)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When one brother gets a job from their wealthy aunt, the other becomes increasingly jealous.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Marion Bailey, Tim Roth, Phil Daniels
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Imelda Staunton ... Vera
Richard Graham Richard Graham ... George
Eddie Marsan ... Reg
Anna Keaveney Anna Keaveney ... Nellie
Alex Kelly Alex Kelly ... Ethel
Daniel Mays ... Sid
Phil Davis ... Stan
Lesley Manville ... Mrs. Wells
Sally Hawkins ... Susan
Simon Chandler ... Mr. Wells
Sam Troughton ... David
Marion Bailey ... Mrs. Fowler
Sandra Voe Sandra Voe ... Vera's Mother
Chris O'Dowd ... Sid's Customer
Adrian Scarborough ... Frank
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

Wife. Mother. Criminal.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 February 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El secreto de Vera Drake See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£266,010 (United Kingdom), 9 January 2005, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,207, 10 October 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,753,806, 27 March 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

During filming, all actors were forbidden to even tell their families what the film was about. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »


Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The most powerful female performance of the year
18 October 2004 | by GregSee all my reviews

I don't think I need to fear rolling pins being thrown in my general direction when I say that powerful women roles are few and far between in Moviedom. That is not to say that there aren't any, it's just that it is rare for a female performance to blow you away in any projector driven screening. This is due more to Hollywood's reluctance to create interesting and powerful roles for the female elite than the actresses' ability themselves. Where studio honchos salivate over the next Jack Nicholson powerhouse or Anthony Hopkins costume drama, there are far far too few Charlize Theron's Monster to counter.

However, leave it up to Mike Leigh to try and correct this trend. In 1996, he wrote and directed the wonderful Secrets & Lies, and his writing for the women leads was so strong, that the Academy awarded nominations for both Best Actress (Brenda Blethyn) and Supporting Actress (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). Now in 2004, Leigh has given us the strongest performance by a male or female of the year with Imelda Staunton as the title character in the new film Vera Drake.

Vera Drake is the story a family in 1950's London. Vera is the Motherhead and she is the jack-of-all-trades within the community. Her days are spend stopping in on elderly people to help them with their lunch, working a various estates as a cleaning lady, slaving at a light bulb producing factory and most notably, as a caring individual who helps young and poor women terminate unwanted pregnancies.

However, if you were to ask Vera Drake what her role was, she would probably admit to being a mother first – a caregiver to her husband and two children.

A selfless woman who has little time for herself and therefore little time to digest the consequences of her illegal actions. Vera is goes about every bit of her business, whether she is down on her knees cleaning the brass around a fireplace or helping a woman perform an abortion without a frown and usually with a smile on her face, a whistling tune on her lips and the kettle on the stove.

Vera's family are equally lovable individuals. Her husband, Geroge (Phil Davis) works with his brother at an automobile repair shop. Her son Sid works as the local tailor and her daughter is a soft spoken lass who falls for a local man Vera invites over to dinner as a kind gesture. Together they make the quintessential family unit that we all envisioned 1950's households to encompass.

But when a local girl has a bad reaction to a Drake endorsed abortion, their world is turned on end. An investigation by the local police lead them to Vera's door on the night of celebration due to her daughters engagement. And as the police take Vera to the local booking station for a statement and sentencing, Imelda Staunton does her best work through the tears and expressions mirroring the suffering at the anguish she has put her family through.

Vera Drake might just be the best picture to be viewed by this critic this year. The characters are so robust and real that every time Vera put the kettle on for a cup of tea, you would think she is doing it for everyone in the audience. We become captivated by their lives and interested in the effects the events have on the family unit. The writing is crisp and you can imagine these people saying these things to one another – a gift not often bestowed upon moviegoers in such a powerful form.

Director Mike Leigh deserves most of the credit. He transforms Vera in front of us and manages to take an illegal action that is generally taboo in conversation and shows us the innocent side of the argument where rich people pay large sums of money to go specialists, but the poor and equally needy require the services of a local underground network. As someone who sits on one side of the abortion issue, I was amazed at the conclusion of the film how non-preaching and argumentative the film ended up being. Vera goes about her business like a friend helping out someone in need. She deals not in the politics or the societal view of her task but rather as someone just doing what is best for those found in situations where this solution is the only viable option.

Leigh's writing and directing however are overshadowed by the incredible performance by Imelda Staunton. This maybe the first film that I can remember where a female should win an Academy Award for a role that didn't harbor any speeches into the camera or voice over dramatization of the situation. With that, I give Vera Drake a very strong recommendation.

www.gregsrants.com


62 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 169 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Horror and Thriller Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular horror and thriller movies available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed