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Vera Drake [DVD]

Imelda Staunton , Philip Davis , Mike Leigh    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
Price: 3.80 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Vera Drake [DVD] + Life Is Sweet [DVD] + Happy-Go-Lucky [DVD] [2008]
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Product details

  • Actors: Imelda Staunton, Philip Davis, Jim Broadbent
  • Directors: Mike Leigh
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 25 April 2005
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007OEMBW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,558 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The brilliant writer-director Mike Leigh (Topsy-Turvy, Secrets and Lies, Naked) has crafted an utterly compelling movie about one of the most controversial of topics. An irrepressibly hopeful housecleaner in 1950s London named Vera Drake (Imelda Staunton, Antonia and Jane, Shakespeare in Love) mothers everyone around her, from her own family to helpless shut-ins and lonely men living in tiny, isolated apartments. None of these people know that Vera also helps young women get rid of unwanted pregnancies, until the police appear and tear her world apart. Vera Drake isn't just an inspired character portrait; through simple and straightforward scenes, the movie weaves a quiet but mesmerizing portrait of how people--both wealthy and poor--cope with adversity. Though wrenching, Vera Drake has too much life to be depressing. Leigh is deservedly famous for his work with actors; every character brims with truth and Staunton's performance deserves every award it could possibly win. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Imelda Staunton stars as Vera Drake, a woman devoted completely to her working class family. She spends her time caring for her elderly mother and sick neighbour, but also secretly visits women with unwanted pregnancies, helping them induce miscarriage. With this practice illegal in 1950s England, Vera finds her life fall apart when the authorities find out.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelming 16 May 2005
By Dorie
This is an important movie about the moral dilemma posed by abortion. Abortions, legal or illegal, have always been performed, and women from all social strata, have always found themselves in need of a helping hand, whether the law upheld that kind of help at particular times or not. The movie shows this by juxtaposing the women whom Vera Drake helps, who cannot pay for abortion, with those who can pay to have an abortion done by a doctor, or by showing that in some cases at least, abortion cannot be totally repudiated. We witness two such cases in the film as one woman becomes pregnant, we understand, after a man forces himself on her, or as another woman, who already has seven children, and whose husband just doesn't understand how consuming this is, cannot have an eighth. The film convincingly shows how women have to deal with their problems in secrecy, in back chambers, and continue to live life as usual and pretend that these things don't happen.

Vera Drake is a kind and generous woman, too kind and too generous, the movie shows, for the world surrounding her, the cruelty of which is encapsulated in the woman who procures "clients" for her, pocketing money from these women without Vera's knowledge, as well as doing Vera the favour of selling her various food products (such as sugar) of which, we understand, there was a shortage in those postwar years.
Imelda Staunton gives an overwhelming performance, exhibiting Vera's kindness, reliability, generosity, naivete, heartbreak, sense of shame, and, finally, despair, with great credibility. I agree with some of the other reviewers who state that the movie doesn't try to take sides.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
I add my voice to the swell of others who have acclaimed Mike Leigh's powerful period piece, "Vera Drake," as an extraordinary film. Writer-director Leigh, ("Topsy Turvy," "Secrets and Lies"), is one of the most consistent forces working in cinema today, and seems to have a magic touch with his actors, especially when working with morally complex drama. Imelda Staunton, as "Vera Drake" gives one of the most brilliant, and accomplished performances I have seen by an actor on the large screen, and her role is an emotionally wrenching one. The subject matter of this 1950's based drama is highly controversial - abortion. Yet, as difficult as the material is, Leigh and Ms. Staunton are able to make some powerful statements without taking a position. Leigh doesn't delve into the morality aspect of the issue. Instead he explores how the disclosure of Vera's illegal acts impacts the lives of the people who care for her and depend upon her.
Vera works hard as a domestic servant in post WWII London. A tiny woman, she is a bundle of energy and optimism who exudes warmth and compassion. With great sincerity, she unstintingly gives of herself and her time to help others. She continually looks in on family and neighbors, especially the elderly and infirm, to make sure they have what they need. Vera is the backbone of her family, which includes her adoring husband, Stan (Phil Davis), son Sid, (Daniel Mays), a tailor who fancies himself a man about town, and daughter Ethel, (Alex Kelly), a timid factory worker. Vera is their hearthstone, and the person who truly lights up their lives, a solid presence, full of good cheer and the ever present cuppa.
Unbeknownst to those who love her, Vera has been "helping-out young women" for years. She assists them to end their unwanted pregnancies.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film from Mike Leigh! 11 April 2006
A very enjoyable, moving and poignant film which deserves all the plaudits given. Imelda Staunton is superb as salt of the earth Vera, a devoted, hard-working mother and wife who devotes her spare time to "helping out young girls" with unwanted pregnancies. Phil Davis gives great support as loyal husband Stan, supporting his wife through thick and thin. Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vera Drake 29 Dec 2007
Sublime is probably my nearest adjective. I'm not a film buff, but I do know the casting couldn't be bettered, the acting is world class and the Director deserves every credit the industry awards.
If you don't understand this one, you don't understand film.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking 24 Feb 2006
My husband moaned about my choice, but he gave it a chance. He became quieter and quieter, a pin drop would have made us jump. A superb study of time, attitude and the gulf between the classes. What is available if you can pay, the alternative. Dark, gripping, sad,unfair. Has much really changed? My husband took his time switching off the dvd player, took a deep breath and apologised for complaining. We both think it beats anything we have watched in a long time.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mike Leigh at his best 28 Feb 2006
Vera Drake is a beautifully told story. The film is shot in a way that seems to capture another period of time so well, and yet links its themes to a contemporary audience. The cast is excellent, particularly Imelda Staunton and Phil Davies. The script is well paced, and the emotional content nicely understated, so that when the dramatic high points of the film are reached, it convinces you of their impact rather than overdramatising them. I wasn't sure if this was going to be a bit drawn out and depressing, but its not, its humanity wins the day and it is well worth seeeing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mike Leigh is just great!
Mike Leigh is one of my favourite directors. This film is really sad but created in such a good way.
Published 1 month ago by Jordan Lee Clapham
4.0 out of 5 stars Staunton Should Have Won The Oscar
Excellent film and brilliant performance from Imelda Staunton. She should have won the Oscar. Good she won a Bafta for this portrayal.
Published 3 months ago by frodo2010
4.0 out of 5 stars the things a housewife had to do!
Thank goodness contraception has came on leaps and bounds nowadays! Shows an insight into how girls in trouble were "helped" in the olden days. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jacqui Carruthers
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional and dramatic. Heart-renching
This is an excellent portrayal of life before the 1967 Abortion Act and shows an ordinary woman trying to help women in the most dire of circumstances and the conflict between... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Wendy Ilderton
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Vera Drake
I love this film. I love Emelda Staunton and the rest of the cast were great. All that tea drinking is just class.
Published 6 months ago by Amanda
5.0 out of 5 stars Vera Drake film
Very gritty film based in 1950s London and is surrounding a lady called Vera drake who she says halps young girls and women who are in trouble (preganant) and can help them. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Alawes
5.0 out of 5 stars period gem
The lengths to which the production team have gone to create authenticity of the period and the outstanding performances from the cast make this one of my 'must see' films.
Published 13 months ago by mosephineT
4.0 out of 5 stars An important film
The acting is flawless the story intense the conclusion explosive. Its a wonderful film thats not really a happy watch but very interesting and will stay with you for awhile... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Neil Horn
4.0 out of 5 stars classi c
A reminder of how times have serious and quickly changed over 50 years in society and its attitudes. A real eye opener. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mrs D Bunk'ell
5.0 out of 5 stars She's A Diamond
This 2004 film directed by Mike Leigh is one of my favourite from this great British film-maker and is one that, along with the likes of Meantime, Topsy-Turvy, Life Is Sweet,... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Keith M
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