Vera Drake

Powerful drama about abortionaybe you've never seen Imelda Staunton on the English stage or caught her in films such as Crush and Peter's Friends. But she'll blow you away as Vera Drake, a wife and m in 1950s London who sidelines doing illegal abortions. For no money, of course. Her heming friend Lily (the brilliant Ruth Sheen) covertly pockets the cash. Vera just wants help the poor dears who can't help themselves, unlike the rich, who can afford safe, ivate clinics. hat could have been soap opera is lifted to the realm of stirring human drama through the timate artistry of Staunton. This is acting at its finest. And the bar is raised further writer-director Mike Leigh (Naked, Secrets and Lies), who contrasts Vera's cret life with her loving time at home with husband Stan (the fine Phil Davis) and their own children. Though Leigh doesn't moralize, he unsparingly details the crude implements ra uses to induce a miscarriage. And when a patient nearly dies and the police bust in to rest Vera at a family dinner, her world collapses. Using Staunton's face as his canvas, igh crafts a powerfully moving film that is unmissable and unforgettable.

From The Archives Issue 330: November 13, 1980
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