×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vera Drake

Released: Oct. 10

Distributor: Fine Line

Oscar alumnus: Jim Clark (editing, “The Killing Fields”)

In “Topsy-Turvy,” Mike Leigh’s last film to make a trip to the Oscars, William Gilbert observes, “There’s something inherently disappointing about success.”

If so, then Leigh could be in for more disappointing days ahead. Period drama “Topsy-Turvy” came away with two Academy wins in 2000 (costume design and make-up) and “Secrets & Lies” became a surprise best picture nominee in 1997. “Vera Drake” is shaping up similarly.

A quietly devastating drama set in post-war London, “Vera Drake” tracks the tragic downfall of the title character, a matronly Good Samaritan who offers abortions to those who can’t afford a proper operation. The movie gained momentum at this year’s Venice Film Festival, winning top prizes for film and actress. Imelda Staunton, known mostly for her U.K. stage work, delivers a stunning performance as the unwitting abortionist, a woman so gentle and kindly she can’t grasp the fact that she’s a criminal.

While the 48-year-old Staunton is new to Oscar, Leigh is no stranger, having received noms for best picture, original screenplay and direction for “Secrets and Lies” and a screenwriting nom for “Topsy-Turvy.”

“Vera Drake’s” controversial stance on abortion may ruffle a few feathers — trailers and TV spots, not surprisingly, omit the “A” word. Critics, as always with Leigh, will be the backbone of the campaign. Many have already saluted “Vera” as the comeback film for the director of such early critical faves as “Life Is Sweet” and “High Hopes.”

The film’s meticulous attention to period detail — from the flowered wallpaper on the walls to the green-and-brownish hues of the cramped flats — is also a bravura technical achievement that could lead to accolades for veteran “Topsy-Turvy” Oscar nominees Eve Stewart (production design) and John Bush (set decoration). Oscar-winning editor Jim Clark also lends an assured touch to “Vera Drake,” producing a clipped and concise drama that never lets up the tension.

And though intimate, emotionally harrowing movies have rarely won best picture statuettes, the paucity of major-studio heavyweights suggests that little pics like “Vera” could more than hold their own.

More Film

  • Mara Watkins Nabhaan Rizwan Steven Wouterlood

    Diverse Talents Pepper Variety's Fifth 10 Europeans to Watch List

    Variety has unveiled its fifth edition of 10 Europeans to Watch, spotlighting 10 rising talents from across the continent who are poised for breakthroughs in 2019. The selection includes emerging actors, directors, showrunners and cinematographers from six countries whose dynamic talents are being showcased on screens big and small, and on both sides of the camera. [...]

  • Glass Movie

    Box Office: 'Glass' Shines Overseas With $48.5 Million Weekend

    After autobots and aquatic kings have dominated foreign markets over the past few weeks, a different kind of hero has risen to the top of box office charts. M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is the new champ overseas, pulling in $48.5 million from international territories. The supernatural thriller, a sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split,” debuted [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    'Roma' and 'The Favourite' Lead London Critics' Circle Winners

    After ruling the U.S. critics’ award circuit, “Roma” continued its dominance on the other side of the pond, as the London Film Critics’ Circle announced its winners tonight. A week after landing seven BAFTA nominations, Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexico City memory piece landed film of the year and director of the year honors from the group [...]

  • M. Night Shyamalan Should Stop Writing

    The Big Twist M. Night Shyamalan Needs: He Should Stop Writing His Own Scripts (Column)

    Quick, name the greatest film by each of the following directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, David Lean, Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Kathryn Bigelow, Jonathan Demme. Answers will vary (mine would be: “Psycho,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Nashville,” “Chinatown,” “The Hurt Locker,” “The Silence of the Lambs”), but whatever your taste, odds are that [...]

  • Andy Vajna Dead: 'Rambo' Producer and

    Andy Vajna, 'Rambo' Producer, Dies at 74

    Andy Vajna, executive producer of several “Rambo” films as well as “Total Recall” and several “Terminator” movies, died Sunday in Budapest after a long illness. He was 74. The Hungarian National Film Fund confirmed his death, calling him a “dominant figure in the Hungarian and international film industry” who was responsible for the development of [...]

  • Glass trailer

    Box Office: 'Glass' Dominates MLK Weekend With $47 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” topped box office charts during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, collecting $40 million over the weekend for a four-day sum of $47 million. If estimates hold, “Glass” will come in behind “American Sniper” ($107 million) and “Ride Along” ($48 million) as the third-best showing for both January and MLK holiday [...]

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content