Mike Leigh has done it again. I adore "Secrets and Lies", my 2nd favorite film of all time and Leigh strikes gold again in the emotionally draining, brilliantly directed study of a 50's era abortionist in London. Imelda Staunton gives, yet another in Leigh's film, outstandingly powerful and true performance as Vera Drake. She a inner-city housewife and mother, who spends much of her free time trying to "help out" the poor ladies of 50's London who are unable to get legal abortions. Some may consider this a hot-topic issue film, but it's moreover an independent study of a woman and her life, and how her emotions play in her world. Every nuance of this film is perfectly crafted, from every performance, to the sets, and the cinematography. The emotions overflow steadily, especially after the traumatic dinner scene where the police arrive for Vera. The look of horror that Staunton displays and changes as she realizes what is happening is acting and direction at it's best. Why is it American films aren't able to capture this from it's performers? I can't praise this film enough and truly believe that this will be my favorite film of the year. It's a shame this film got only a small release and audiences seemed unmoved by it. I don't understand it. Hopefully DVD will allow those who missed it to catch up with it and relish in it's brilliance. It will be a rewarding experience for all to see. I am praying for Oscar noms all around, but especially for Staunton. It is clearly and without any doubt, the best female performance as of this date, this year.