Vera Drake

On November 14th, I spent the day at a friend's house on the Issaquah Plateau. Along with general catching up, we watched "Vera Drake" starring Imelda Staunton. It's hard for younger people to imagine a world where abortion was illegal and illegitimacy was an unbearable scandal. The movie takes place in 1950 and my friend hadn't been born yet.

My, my, how things have changed...

Suffice it to say, Staunton ("Shakespeare in Love" and "Much Ado About Nothing") does a terrific job as a religious, hardworking, upbeat, financially strapped British maid and housekeeper.

Oh yeah, she's also the friendly neighborhood abortionist.

She never takes a penny from her "poor girls," doing her careful work with nothing but pity and charity in her heart; but the acquaintance that does the referrals is doing a land-office business!

The casting of Imelda and her simple family is so authentic it's spooky. Those folks look REAL! The awkward courtship of their painfully shy daughter is a thing to behold! And their house is so authentic you practically get chilblains just watching!

Staunton was nominated for an Academy Award for this role...in which she is totally unglamorous and genuinely believable.

It's very well done, but I had avoided it for just exactly the reasons I observed today. It's not exactly an "upper," now, is it!