Vera Drake 2004

Critics score:
92 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Gripping and elegantly told. Read more

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald: Vera Drake makes a compelling argument for women's rights without ever succumbing to preachiness. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: A prime example of how genuine drama terrifies and uplifts us. It also reveals how controversial subjects can seem fresh and new in the hands of a master director and a great ensemble cast. Read more

Mary Brennan, Seattle Times: Vera is the heart of the film, and Staunton gives an exquisite performance. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Leigh thinks his movie is a social commentary, but it's really an almost-brilliant character study, with an essential piece left out: the moment Vera is revealed to herself. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: Mike Leigh's devastatingly effective work plunges us into working class, post-war London in 1950. Read more

Steve Murray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: What holds Vera Drake together is Vera herself -- a completely absorbing performance from Staunton. Read more

Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic: All the actors so completely fade away that you come out of the film thinking you've seen the real people, not players reciting a script. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Heartbreaking. Read more

Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times: The film is more of a portrait than a story, and as such it is finely wrought and compelling, but the airbrush is overkill. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: One of Leigh's better movies. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: [The movie] can break your heart. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: You can almost smell the damp wool and feel the worn china teacups of an exhausted 1950s London in Mike Leigh's stunning and compassionate period drama Vera Drake. Read more

Dallas Morning News: Ms. Staunton is remarkable in the lead role. Read more

Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly: As a character study Vera Drake is coarsely drawn, and as pro-choice polemic, it's both a blunt instrument and a red herring. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: Vera is given a thoroughly devastating portrayal by Imelda Staunton, in the kind of role that elevates an actress into a lofty realm where those who never knew her suddenly knew it all along. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: The film moves assuredly from incident to incident in a way that makes it seem old-fashioned, but pleasingly so. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Despite all his care and realism, Leigh has neglected to provide a fully satisfying drama. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: Vera Drake is perfect down to the last detail. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Despite the honest, penetrating and open-faced presence of the distinguished Imelda Staunton in the title role, the film is something of an ordeal. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: Vera Drake, a film about a back-street abortionist in 1950 London, is the English director Mike Leigh's best work in a decade. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Boo, hiss and all that -- but I can report that the film left me only vaguely depressed and nothing more. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: With Vera Drake, [Leigh] has made his most controversial and accessible work Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: For those who have the patience to become absorbed in this kind of drama, Vera Drake offers a stunningly real character portrait whose image will linger long after the movie has faded. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: A film of pitch-perfect, seemingly effortless performances. Read more

Charles Taylor, Susan has served the point Leigh is making about how easy it is for affluent women to get safe abortions (no kidding) and is no longer of use or interest to him. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: Leigh and Staunton seem like prisoners of their own plodding naturalism. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: We often praise actors for putting themselves inside the skins and souls of others, but it's a rare performer who becomes a character so uncannily and convincingly that she seems to vanish into the role. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: Gripping film. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Arguably Leigh's finest achievement, its sole flaw being the too-perfect depiction of Vera -- no fault of Staunton's, who must surely be considered for Oscar recognition. Read more

Time Out: Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: This is the kind of people-driven story that the movies used to give us -- before special effects took over. Read more

David Rooney, Variety: While the drama is emotionally harrowing it's also riveting, profoundly affecting and observed with a real generosity of spirit. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: Building up to a shattering conclusion, Leigh's movie is both outrageously schematic and powerfully humanist. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: A carefully calibrated parable that quietly sneaks into your heart and prods it sharply. Read more