Vera Drake Reviews

  • Jun 29, 2020

    It has a decent premise but the script is too dull to satisfy.

    It has a decent premise but the script is too dull to satisfy.

  • Mar 02, 2018

    Britain in 1950 seems perfectly recreated in Mike Leigh's sombre look at a cleaning woman's desire to "help young girls out". Imelda Staunton justifiably won the BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar as Vera Drake who maternally comforts many poor women by inducing miscarriages. She's warm and matter-of-fact despite the whole thing being illegal - but that latter fact causes everything to come crashing down. Although director Mike Leigh (best known for Secrets and Lies, 1996, perhaps) is overtly showing us how an anti-choice political climate makes things difficult for poor women (even as rich women are shown to have other ways to solve the same problem, quasi-legally, in subplot with Sally Hawkins), the film succeeds beyond making didactic points due to the commitment of the actors and the perfect mise-en-scene. Leigh's way of working with the actors, involving up to six months of rehearsals and complete biographical backstories to their characters - plus a fully improvised script - must have contributed. In fact, apparently none of the other actors knew that the film was about abortion until their characters found out - lending genuine surprise/shock to the proceedings. An increasingly difficult watch but important to consider.

    Britain in 1950 seems perfectly recreated in Mike Leigh's sombre look at a cleaning woman's desire to "help young girls out". Imelda Staunton justifiably won the BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar as Vera Drake who maternally comforts many poor women by inducing miscarriages. She's warm and matter-of-fact despite the whole thing being illegal - but that latter fact causes everything to come crashing down. Although director Mike Leigh (best known for Secrets and Lies, 1996, perhaps) is overtly showing us how an anti-choice political climate makes things difficult for poor women (even as rich women are shown to have other ways to solve the same problem, quasi-legally, in subplot with Sally Hawkins), the film succeeds beyond making didactic points due to the commitment of the actors and the perfect mise-en-scene. Leigh's way of working with the actors, involving up to six months of rehearsals and complete biographical backstories to their characters - plus a fully improvised script - must have contributed. In fact, apparently none of the other actors knew that the film was about abortion until their characters found out - lending genuine surprise/shock to the proceedings. An increasingly difficult watch but important to consider.

  • Sep 05, 2015

    Very dark and tragic film by Mike Leigh. Brilliantly written and acted in his own inimitable way.

    Very dark and tragic film by Mike Leigh. Brilliantly written and acted in his own inimitable way.

  • Jul 29, 2015

    This is an interesting story but that lead performance stands out as the goods more so than the movie.

    This is an interesting story but that lead performance stands out as the goods more so than the movie.

  • Apr 20, 2015

    F 8.3 [Mike Leigh]

    F 8.3 [Mike Leigh]

  • Jan 16, 2015

    Not only is "Vera Drake" yet another of Leigh's impeccably acted (Staunton and Hawkins are unbelievably good) and intricately layered dramas, but it's also a fearless testament to the women who consistently stand up against institutionalized oppression and psychologically destructive social constructs all while keeping society in working order.

    Not only is "Vera Drake" yet another of Leigh's impeccably acted (Staunton and Hawkins are unbelievably good) and intricately layered dramas, but it's also a fearless testament to the women who consistently stand up against institutionalized oppression and psychologically destructive social constructs all while keeping society in working order.

  • Nov 09, 2014

    good character study

    good character study

  • Oct 20, 2014

    This is definitely a slow burn of a movie with alot not really going on until you get half way through it. I love Imelda Staunton and think no matter how crappy a movie, she's one of those actresses that makes it worth while just to see her energy on screen. She is very powerful especially towards the end of the film. I've only seen two Mike Leigh films, this and Secret & Lies, but judging by his Oscar nominations he is really known for his writing more and I think it is good here but like Lies, it just drags alot and could be better paced. The costumes are great and the score is too plus a great cameo from Jim Broadbant who like Staunton I just enjoy in every movie he is in. The rest of the cast also does a nice job especially towards the end like the rest of the movie seems to be.

    This is definitely a slow burn of a movie with alot not really going on until you get half way through it. I love Imelda Staunton and think no matter how crappy a movie, she's one of those actresses that makes it worth while just to see her energy on screen. She is very powerful especially towards the end of the film. I've only seen two Mike Leigh films, this and Secret & Lies, but judging by his Oscar nominations he is really known for his writing more and I think it is good here but like Lies, it just drags alot and could be better paced. The costumes are great and the score is too plus a great cameo from Jim Broadbant who like Staunton I just enjoy in every movie he is in. The rest of the cast also does a nice job especially towards the end like the rest of the movie seems to be.

  • Sep 01, 2014

    I have seen Imelda Staunton in plays and films and has always enjoyed her performances immensely. But this one is very good. Her portrayal of the little woman who loves her family and believe in doing good for others is very delicate. Her powerful performance as the terrified little lady facing the justice system is very convincing and initiates a lot of sympathy in the audience.

    I have seen Imelda Staunton in plays and films and has always enjoyed her performances immensely. But this one is very good. Her portrayal of the little woman who loves her family and believe in doing good for others is very delicate. Her powerful performance as the terrified little lady facing the justice system is very convincing and initiates a lot of sympathy in the audience.

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    John B Super Reviewer
    May 21, 2014

    Imelda Staunton's performance as an illegal abortionist is understated enough to be brilliant. Her passion for helping women which seems to be greater than her understanding for doing what it is that she does adds to the film's gravity.

    Imelda Staunton's performance as an illegal abortionist is understated enough to be brilliant. Her passion for helping women which seems to be greater than her understanding for doing what it is that she does adds to the film's gravity.