In the years following World War II, the title character nurse (Imelda Staunton), working for an independent agency, is a door-to-door specialist who does abortions for ladies in need. These females are embarrassed, ashamed, and/or too poor to go a doctor and/or tell their families of their predicament so they take this generally risky, volatile route which could jeopardize their health. Unfortunately, one of the girls ends up in the hospital due to a contaminated instrument used in the process and to the mother's belief that she had suffered a miscarriage, but in actual fact, she had an abortion. Vera Drake is than arrested, with her believing she did nothing wrong. Really sad, potent film that tackles a pretty shocking, controversial topic during a period where you never hear about abortion. Really takes a risk and the results come out wonderfully. Staunton's performance is so sad, so good, that you can feel her sadness when she is charged with her unique crimes. Hauntingly good movie!