Vera Drake Reviews
Though the movie is clearly meant to spark thought and discussion on abortion, director Mike Leigh doesn't really take a stance. In some ways this is good, as it means you can enjoy the movie as a drama, no matter what your view on abortion. In some ways, however, I wish Leigh had taken a stance (preferably pro-choice), just to make it more controversial.
Imelda Staunton is superb in the lead role and deserved her Best Actress Oscar nomination (losing out to Hillary Swank for Million Dollar Baby).
A powerful movie. Just be patient.
Imelda Staunton gives a gripping, heartbreaking performance as the selfless and caring Vera Drake, despite her second job as a back-street abortionist she is a character we care for and understand, she takes no pride in what she does, accepts no payment, she just wants to "help girls out" as she puts it.
What I admire most about this film is that it shows us both sides of the argument; we don't always care for the girls she's helping out, some are getting an abortion because they've been unfaithful. However, some of them are victims of rape or already have more than 5 children and can't afford another mouth to feed. We're also shown a rape victim having a legitimate abortion from an actual doctor, purely because her family are wealthy; they can afford the cost, these back-street abortions are a way out for the underprivileged.
In conclusion, Vera Drake's struggle is one I believe she did not deserve, she was just trying to help people as she always does, she has her children she cares for, houses she cleans, and older people she looks after; Vera is just a genuinely kind hearted person.
My Rating 4/5.
It's a story about an abortionist named Vera Drake (Imelda Staunton). However, she's not just an abortionist. She's a mother first and a caretaker for the disabled and elderly second. What she does, she does out of the kindness of her heart. She does it to help young women during a time where it was incomprehensibly difficult to raise a child due to class, social, racial, and financial issues. This isn't a preachy movie that asks you to make a choice, it's simply great storytelling. It's not so much a movie about abortion, it's more about the abortionist herself and her family.
What makes Vera Drake most interesting is the clear display of differences between the upper and lower class. Through displaying the course of action that a 'rich' girl would go through to get an abortion, we see how hard it was for poor women to get a termination. For the rich, they had to pay 150 pounds and take a psychology test. There is no way the poor could possibly afford these expenses, which is why they turn to people like Vera Drake, who are there to 'help young girls out.'
We also see that these unqualified abortionists are bound to botch a procedure at one stage in their life, no matter how seasoned a veteran they are. This is shown at the end, when Vera talks to two other abortionists who had both been performing the procedures for years. They had both botched procedures also. It just goes to show that no matter how good someone's intentions are, they are still running the risk of seriously hurting the women they're 'helping.'
The major problem I had with the film was that it dragged on way too much. Like I said, I've never seen a character cry so much in a movie. This certainly makes the whole process more realistic, however, it grates on your patience when it goes on for one hour. Also, the movie just seemed too long for a story with hardly any significant events.
In the end, it was Imelda Staunton that made this a very good film. Her performance in Vera Drake is one of the best of all time. She was robbed of the Oscar for Best Actress that year, but then again, The Academy Awards are a popularity contest between Hollywood's elite. If you see this film, you'll know that hers was the best performance of the year. You should watch this film for Staunton's incredible performance alone. The great subject matter is just the icing on the cake.