Vera Drake - yet another masterpiece from director Mike Leigh, depicting the illegal backstreet abortion business. The film is set in 1950, London (and you really do feel as if you're there…). Vera, “not a bad bone in her body” as her husband says, is a small and chubby lady who is busy helping everyone out, her neighbors, her sick mother, her children and “girls who got themselves into trouble”. With his own special sense of pace and suspense Leigh leads us to her final calamity and manages - with the incredible portrait of this women - to stretch the ethical dilemma around abortion to extremes. Apart from the superb direction, Imelda Staunton gives a magnificent performance as Vera Drake.
The film is currently on general release and some of special screenings include follow-up discussions with Mike Leigh himself.
Worth also checking out is this interesting review by a former Midwife who actually worked in London in 1950s. As much as the film is flawless in its depiction of the period, she writes, it is incredibly and dangerously inaccurate in its portrayal of the medical procedures involved.