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Vera Drake 2004 Plot • Vera Drake (Imelda Staunton) is tirelessly devoted to her family, looking after her husband and children, her elderly mother, and a sick neighbour. Vera's daughter Ethel (Alex Kelly) works in a factory, and her son Sid (Daniel Mays) tailors men's suits. Her husband Stanley (Phil Davis) is a car mechanic. Although Vera and her family do not live lavishly, their strong family bonds hold them together. • Vera works as a house cleaner. However, unbeknown to her family, she also serves as a backroom abortionist. She receives no money for this, believing her help to be an act of generosity, though her partner Lily (Ruth Sheen), a hard-bitten wheeler- dealer who also carries on a black-market trade in scarce post-war foodstuffs, does charge for arranging the abortions without Vera's knowledge. We are also introduced to a character named Susan (Sally Hawkins), who is the daughter of one of Vera's employers and whose story is one of the film's subplots. Susan is raped by a man she was dating, becomes pregnant, and asks a friend to put her in contact with a doctor who performs abortions. In Susan's case, the psychiatrist helpfully prompts her with the correct answers, so that he can recommend her abortion on the grounds that she might be desperate enough to harm herself. • The sums of money might seem rather small to modern viewers, but two guineas in 1950 would be £48 in 2005. A hundred guineas, the price of a psychiatrist- approved abortion, would be £2400. Production Production Companies • Les Films Alain Sarde (presents) (as Alain Sarde) • Film Council (presents) (as UK Film Council) • Inside Track Productions (in association with) • Thin Man Films • Ingenious Film Partners • Written and directed by Mike Leigh. • Mike Leigh, OBE (born 20 February 1943) is an English film and theatre director, screenwriter, and playwright. He studied theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and did his early acting with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He began as a theatre director and playwright in the 1960s, and then in the 1970s, he made the transition to television plays, many of which were characterized by a gritty "kitchen sink realism“ (It used a style of social realism which often depicted the domestic situations of working class Britons living in council flats and spending their off-hours in grimy pubs to explore social issues and political controversies) style • Cast: • Imelda Staunton ... Vera • Richard Graham ... George • Eddie Marsan ... Reg • Anna Keaveney... Nellie • Alex Kelly ... Ethel • Daniel Mays ... Sid • Philip Davis... Stan (as Phil Davis) • Lesley Manville ... Mrs. Wells • Sally Hawkins ... Susan • Simon Chandler ... Mr. Wells • Sam Troughton ... David • Marion Bailey ... Mrs. Fowler • Sandra Voe ... Vera's Mother Chris O'Dowd ... Sid's Customer • Adrian Scarborough ... Frank • Academy - 2004 Category Nominee Win/Nominated • Best Actress Imelda Staunton • Nominated • Best Director Mike Leigh • Nominated • Best Original Screenplay Mike Leigh • Nominated British Academy Awards - 2004 Category Nominee Win/Nominated • Best Actress Imelda Staunton • Win • Best British Film • Nominated • Best Costume Design Jacqueline Durran • Win • Best Director Mike Leigh • Win • Best Editing Jim Clark • Nominated • Best Make-up and Hair • Christine Blundell • Nominated Best Original Screenplay Mike Leigh • Nominated • Best Picture Nominated • Best Production Design Eve Stewart • Nominated B • est Supporting Actor Phil Davis • Nominated • Best Supporting Actress Heather Craney • Nominated Broadcast Film Critics Association - 2004 Category Nominee Win/Nominated Best Actress Imelda Staunton Nominated Distribution • A-Film Distribution (2005) (Netherlands) (theatrical) • Alfa Films (2005) (Argentina) (theatrical) • BIM Distribuzione (2004) (Italy) (all media) • Cinema Mondo (2005) (Finland) (theatrical) • Concorde Filmverleih (2005) (Germany) (theatrical) • Concorde Home Entertainment (2005) (Germany) (DVD) • Fine Line Features (2004) (USA) (theatrical) • Frenetic Films (2005) (Switzerland) (theatrical) • Gateno Films (2005) (Peru) (all media) • Mars Distribution(2004) (France) (theatrical) • Momentum Pictures(UK) (theatrical) • Momentum Pictures (2004) (UK) (all media) • New Line Cinema (2004) (USA) (all media) • Optimum Releasing (2004) (UK) (theatrical) • SPI Internatioinl (2005) (Czech Republic) (theatrical) • Studio Canal (2004) (worldwide) (all media) (international sales) • Tokyo Theaters Company (2005) (Japan) (theatrical) • Transeuropa Video Entertainment (TVE)(2005) (Argentina) (DVD) • Transeuropa Video Entertainment (TVE) (2005) (Argentina) (VHS) • Vértigo Films (2005) (Spain) (theatrical) • Warner Home Video (2005) (Switzerland) (DVD) • Certification: 12 • Audience at older people, set in 1950’s. • Genre: • Crime, Drama, Tragedy Miscarriage of justice, WW II Veteran, England, Womens rights. Follwing traditional themes present in 1950’s and past British Films. • Reviews: • http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/vera_drake/ • http://www.channel4.com/film/reviews/film.jsp?id=136249§ion=revie w • http://www.timeout.com/film/chicago/reviews/81552/vera-drake.html • http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/films/vera-drake-film-review-9317.html • Vera Drake Trailer: • http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_5L3hGxHumY Exhibition • Released in UK 7th January 2005. • As of 9 April 2006, Vera Drake had grossed $12,941,817 at the box office worldwide, including over $3.7 million in the U.S. . • The film has attracted some criticism from those who worked in midwifery during the 1950s. The chief concern is the method of abortion used by Vera Drake in the film. This involves using a Higginson bulb syringe filled with a solution of warm, soapy water and disinfectant, which is inserted into the woman's uterus. This method is described by Jennifer Worth, a nurse and midwife in the 1950s and 1960s, as often fatal. She calls the film itself "dangerous," as it could be shown in countries where abortion is illegal and the method depicted copied by desperate women. Released in 46 other countries Vera Drake Facts • Except for Imelda Staunton, none of the actors knew that the film was about abortion until their characters find out. Each actors only knew what concerned their characters. • All actors were forbidden to even tell their family what they were doing, what the film was about during filming. • The budget was so tight that a week of filming had to be cancelled. • Filmed with no script, the film went on to be nominated for Best Original Screenplay for 2005 Oscar. Mike Leigh said that he "had to prepare the screenplay so it can be sent out to academy members. But actually the screenplay that was nominated doesn't exist. The film is the screenplay." • Mike Leigh asked the actors to hum in the movie. Because they couldn't afford to buy rights to songs, the actors had to hum something generic. • Submitted for the 2004 Cannes Film Festival but was denied. • The entire basic script was improvised.
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