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Vera Drake

4.3 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Based on a true story, Vera Drake tells of a woman in 1950s England who is devoted to caring for her family, but secretly aids women who want to terminated unwanted pregnancies. When the authorities find her out, Vera's world and family life rapidly unravel. Imelda Staunton stars in this R-rated film.

Special Features

  • Theatrical Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Heather Craney, Richard Graham, Eddie Marsan
  • Directors: Mike Leigh
  • Writers: Mike Leigh
  • Producers: Alain Sarde, Christine Gozlan, Duncan Reid, Gail Egan, Georgina Lowe
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2005
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007P0YKY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,211 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Vera Drake" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 21, 2004
Let me state this categorically: there is no finer performance by an actor this year than Imelda Staunton in Mike Leigh's VERA DRAKE. In fact, if there is any justice in the world at all she should easily win the Oscar for Best Actress. Unfortunately, there is not always justice in the world, especially when we come to Oscar time, and Hollywood often gives the award to a less deserving but locally more popular actress. But if we are focusing merely on quality of performance, Imelda Staunton this year is in a class of her own. In fact, this is not merely the finest performance this year, but one of the very best performances I have ever seen. The last time I was this impressed by a performance by an actress was, perhaps not accidentally, Brenda Blethyn in Mike Leigh's SECRETS AND LIES, a performance that won for Ms. Blethyn every acting award for which she was eligible, except for the Oscar (Frances McDormand won for her excellent but less impressive effort in FARGO).

Let me go a step further: I know of no director working today who consistently manages to coax amazing performances out of his cast. Every single one of his films are littered with amazing demonstrations of acting excellence, and this one is as remarkable in that way as any of his prior films. Except for Staunton, there is absolutely no point in singling out individuals: every actor is perfect for their part. Clearly one reason Leigh manages to get such great jobs out of his actors is the fact that he writes some remarkable screenplays. Invariably, even in a somewhat splashy production like TOPSY-TURVY, Leigh constantly keeps the focus on the individuals.
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Format: DVD
I add my voice to the swell of others who have acclaimed Mike Leigh's powerful period piece, "Vera Drake," as an extraordinary film. Writer-director Leigh, ("Topsy Turvy," "Secrets and Lies"), is one of the most consistent forces in cinema today, and seems to have a magic touch with his actors, especially when working with morally complex drama. Imelda Staunton, as "Vera Drake" gives one of the most brilliant, and accomplished performances I have seen by an actor on the large screen, and her role is an emotionally wrenching one. The subject matter of this 1950's based drama is highly controversial - abortion. Yet, as difficult as the material is, Leigh and Ms. Staunton are able to make some powerful statements without taking a position. Leigh doesn't delve into the morality aspect of the issue. Instead he explores how the disclosure of Vera's illegal acts impacts the lives of the people who care for her and depend upon her.

Vera works hard as a domestic servant in post WWII London. A tiny woman, she is a bundle of energy and optimism who exudes warmth and compassion. With great sincerity, she unstintingly gives of herself and her time to help others. She continually looks in on family and neighbors, especially the elderly and infirm, to make sure they have what they need. Vera is the backbone of her family, which includes her adoring husband, Stan (Phil Davis), son Sid, (Daniel Mays), a tailor who fancies himself a man about town, and daughter Ethel, (Alex Kelly), a timid factory worker. Vera is their hearthstone, and the person who truly lights up their lives, a solid presence, full of good cheer and the ever present cuppa.

Unbeknownst to those who love her, Vera has been "helping-out young women" for years. She assists them to end their unwanted pregnancies.
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Format: DVD
This quietly powerful film tells the story of a 1950's middle-class English family, as it is torn apart by the actions of one woman. Vera Drake, the mother is her family's emotional center. A small woman, with bright blue eyes and always a kind word, Vera bustles through her days doing odd favors for housebound invalids, always making the world a bit friendlier for the lonely souls she meets along the way. But Vera has another side, although even this task is carried out with her usual gentle reserve: Vera helps women with troublesome pregnancies. For years, Vera has visited the women who need her services. Inevitably one girl becomes deathly ill and the police show up on Vera's doorstep just as her family is celebrating her daughter's engagement. Vera instinctively knows why the authorities are there, but has never spoken a word about her activities to her husband or grown children. Devastated over the girl's illness, Vera breaks down, barely able to speak to the inspector or to tell her husband what she has been doing.

Filled with character actors whose faces reveal their every emotion, this film is brilliantly acted, more implied by what isn't said than the damning words of jurisprudence. Imelda Staunton plays a remarkable nuanced Vera Drake, a simple woman, devoted to her family. Confronted by her actions, Vera literally cannot cope with the overwhelming emotions, as though she hasn't thought past her actions. The family is unbelieving, offering various reactions: "It's dirty."; "If you can't feed 'em, you can't love 'em, can you?"; "If she told me I would've put a stop to it.
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