HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
   
 
Newest Articles
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Vera Drake Tea And SympathyBuy this film here.
Year: 2004
Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Imelda Staunton, Philip Davis, Daniel Mays, Alex Kelly, Eddie Marsan, Adrian Scarborough, Heather Craney, Sally Hawkins, Ruth Sheen, Peter Wight, Lesley Manville, Lesley Sharp, Martin Savage, Helen Coker, Jim Broadbent, Nicky Henson, Liz White
Genre: Drama, Historical
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In Britain of the early 1950s, middle-aged Vera Drake lives in a small flat with her husband Stan (Phil Davis), a mechanic who works for his brother Frank (Adrian Scarborough), and her two grown up children, outgoing tailor Sid (Daniel Mays) and the shy Ethel (Alex Kelly). Vera helps to make ends meet as a cleaning lady, but she has, as is often pointed out by those who know her, a heart of gold and is always willing to provide assistance to those who need it. Today, for instance, she invited the lonely Reg (Eddie Marsan) to dinner because he lived on his own and didn't get out much, although she may have spotted a kindred spirit for her daughter. The evening goes well, and Reg is invited back any time he wants, but this isn't the only way Vera helps the disadvantaged. Vera is an illegal abortionist.

Director Mike Leigh receives a writer's credit on this film, but as with his previous work, he acted as a guiding hand to his actors and the "script" was entirely improvised. And as usual, this means a fairly straightforward story that is made richer by the film's performances and emotional impact, especially when you know that hardly any of the main cast knew that the film concerned itself with abortion at a time when such a practice was extremely hard to come by for women "in trouble". As a parallel narrative, the virginal daughter of one of the high society ladies Vera works for is raped and needs a termination, and we follow her in a small number of scenes as she goes through official channels - she's able to afford the high financial price, of course.

For those who can't, there's Vera who makes home visits to her clients with her kit, her kindly style putting them at ease as if this were a perfectly simple operation and nothing to be ashamed of; yet most of them are ashamed, thanks to a society that puts the blame on their situation firmly on their own heads, the men who impregnated them getting away without a guilty conscience. Leigh is on the side of the women all the way, even when yet another apparently simple procedure goes wrong and it's Vera fault. In the meantime, we watch an exquisitely fashioned world of the past (all the more impressive on such a tiny budget), with everyone in Vera's circle of family getting their time to build their personalities in our eyes, for this is as much a family crisis melodrama as it is an issue film.

However, as is often with Leigh's work the accusation of a patronising tone can be levelled as there's not one character we cannot look down on from a position of being more aware than they are, whether it's Vera's family who are horrified by the police arriving at their door halfway through a celebratory get-together, or Vera herself who seems utterly naive. She's built up as a martyr turned saint, as we find out she doesn't even ask for money and is the victim of her callous friend Lily (Ruth Sheen) who takes as much cash as she can for the abortions without telling Vera. Fortunately the cast, not one hitting a wrong note from the minor roles upwards, keep the misery authentic, yet there's something sadistic about the way the simple folk are put through the wringer for a full two hours of screen time. The film will make you thankful that Britain's attitude to abortion is more enlightened these days, showing that it's not a decision made lightly for the women involved, but that's about all you get out of it unless you like to wallow in depression. Music by Andrew Dickson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3094 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: