Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Vera Drake

Mike Leigh, 2004 (7.9*)
This is not a pleasant film, nor one for those who can become squeamish (such as the adrenaline shot in Pulp Fiction) during movies. The subject is also abortion, which will make this a film many will want to avoid. In spite of all that, I will have to add that Imelda Staunton is one of the best actresses of our generation, and turned in a performance for all time in this film. If you want to see what powerful acting is all about, then watch this film. However, if you want an action film, or a cut and dry story with its own message to impart, then this will not be a film for you. Nearly all of Mike Leigh's films are on the human, interpersonal drama level, they're not action films.

Staunton plays a simple working-class London mother, who flits about her neighborhood daily, doing simple things for people in need. She epitomizes the term Good Samaritan. However, there is more to her than meets the eye, she has a secret life that even her lifetime husband doesn't know, and certainly not her children, who are now adults still living at home. The story and plot take a u-turn about midway, and that's when Staunton's artistry takes the film by the horns. This is a rare thing to see on film.

Staunton won 17 awards for her performance (and lost 9 other nominations), and would have easily won an Oscar® as well, but she was up against Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, which has to be one of the best 10 performances of all time.
Her awards page at IMDB


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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