10 November 2004 | ikanboy
a gem of a movie
Imelda Staunton is superb and is my bet for the Oscar unless some Hollywood Diva does another "out of character" performance. But she only shines because of the company she keeps.This is ensemble acting at it's finest. No melodramatics, no attempt to steal scenes,and the result is as honest as life itself. This is the way the British talked, almost always indirectly, hedging around issues rather than hitting them head on, and a slave to mannered behavior. Understate, understate, understate.
Having lived in England from 1952 to 1959, and having married someone who was British who grew up during the war and it's aftermath this movie was like "a bit of old home." My mother employed "char ladies" like Vera, although we were "upper middle class" rather than "upper." The class differences were quite distinct in those days, and often determined by accent. What this movie shows is not only the average life of a "lower class" family but the options forced on them that were different from those in the higher brackets of society.
As anyone should know by know the movie is about illegal abortion in a rigid
puritanical society. Illegal, that is, for those without means, but quite available to those who could grease the wheels of the medical establishment who had "legal" ways around the law. In other words if Roe v. Wade goes then Vera's will pop up again.
There is no attempt to make a statement for or against abortion. As Mike Leigh has said: abortion has been in every society for thousands of years. The Vera Drake's who have lived could populate a small city. What this movie does do is emphasize that the Vera's were/are common average people not quasi criminals lurking behind the curtains of some seedy back alley shack, and that legislating morality never addresses the often harsh reality of human society.