Entertainment Weekly - 10/15/2004
"[S]tunning and compassionate....Leigh goes somewhere deeper in his lifelong cinematic interest in class bonds and conflicts."
Premiere - 11/01/2004
"Imelda Staunton is absolutely astonishing in the title role of this quiet, sad film..."
Rolling Stone - 10/28/2004
"Using Staunton's face as his canvas, Leigh crafts a powerfully moving film that is unmissable and unforgettable."
Los Angeles Times - 10/22/2004
"[The film] belongs entirely to its actors, whose collective portrayal of a bygone generation is remarkable."
USA Today - 10/22/2004
"This is the kind of people-driven story that the movies used to give us -- before special effects took over."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 10/01/2004
"You won't forget the raw intensity of Staunton's performance....This is a powerful and timely film..."
Sight and Sound - 01/01/2005
"An exceptional breadth of context and compassion is evident here, though the film is as much a triumph of production design as it is of acting, writing and direction..."
Mike Leigh produces another devastating masterpiece with the heartbreaking VERA DRAKE. Imelda Staunton is the title character, beloved wife of Stan (Phil Davis) and mother of Sid (Daniel Mays) and Ethel (Alex Kelly). Vera spends her days cleaning houses for money and looking in on elderly and sick neighbors out of the kindness of her heart. She even attempts to be a matchmaker for her daughter, inviting a lonely neighbor, Reg (Eddie Marsan), to see if he might be a perfect match for the introverted Ethel. But Vera performs another duty that her family doesn't know about, one that is deeply frowned upon by society. When tragedy befalls a young client of Vera's, the truth comes out, forcing her family to see their mother in an entirely different light.
Staunton gives a towering performance and, in typical Mike Leigh fashion, the story, characters, and script were built from a grueling and intricate improvisation process, resulting in a film that burns with heart-wrenching sincerity. Rather than take a heavy-handed approach towards his controversial subject matter, Leigh heroically remains non-judgmental, delivering an achingly humanistic drama that will linger with audiences long after they leave the theater.
Description by Warner Home Video:
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.
Essential Cinema |
Family Interaction |
Family Life |
THEATRICAL RELEASE: OCTOBER 10, 2004 (LIMITED)
This film was included in the 42nd New York Film Festival organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.