Mike Leighs "Vera Drake" is a kitchen-sink slice-of-life drama with an eye for detail as hypnotically acute as it is relentlessly gloomy. Its difficult to think of another recent film so seamlessly rendered or that envelops an audience so completely in its period authenticity. It is 1950 in working-class London, a post-war era with harsh memories and a bleak existence yet to be blown apart by the angry young men that would lead to the 60s cultural revolution. The Drake family lives in quiet desperation enriched by closeness and small kindnesses, and sustained by the repeated mantra that in contrast to many "we have a lot to be thankful for." Vera (Imelda Staunton) is kindness personified, an unstinting wife, mum and friend who cleans posh houses for a living but always drops by to see shut-in neighbors to make a cuppa tea and tuck them in, and doesnt neglect her mum, whos quite poorly. But Vera has a secret. For some 20 years, shes been helping out young girls who get into a spot of trouble. Vera doesnt like the word abortion; she sees it as helping out. Writer-director Leigh tells the story of Vera Blake with an unblinking eye and a complete absence of sentiment.

Hollywood Reporter

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Vera Drake (Il Segreto di Vera Drake).

For cinemas showing films in original language see Useful Numbers page 2.