Vera Drake ★★★ 2004 (R)
Compassionate, complex drama with a stellar performance by Staunton in the title role. Set in the drab post-war London of 1950, Vera is a cozy, middle-aged married house cleaner who is relentlessly cheery and helpful to all those around her. This includes the poor young women who find themselves “in trouble.” Vera, as it happens, is the local abortionist—something her family discovers only when the police descend on them after one of Vera's procedures goes wrong. Her subsequent trial highlights the hypocrisy of the proceedings (matched against Vera's bewildered decency) without becoming overbearing. 125m/C DVD . Imelda Staunton, Philip Davis, Peter Wright, Adrian Scarborough, Heather Craney, Alex Kelly, Daniel Mays, Eddie Marsan, Sally Hawkins, Ruth Sheen, Helen Coker; D: Mike Leigh; W: Mike Leigh; C: Dick Pope; M: Andrew Dickson. British Acad. ‘04: Actress (Staunton), Costume Des., Director (Leigh).