Review by: Fusion3600
Posted on: January 28th, 2012
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Plot: What’s it about?

Vera Drake (Imelda Staunton) has a family that loves her, as she is a devoted wife and a wonderful mother, without fail. She cares for her husband and children with all of her free time, making sure all of their needs are covered. She spends little to no time on herself and when she does, she would gladly sacrifice that time to give it to someone else. In addition to her husband and children, she also minds her elderly mother and ensures her time left is as enjoyable as possible. Vera even looks after people in need outside of her own kind, such as a neighbor has who sick. In other words, Vera was as kind and giving a person as you’d ever meet, to the extent that she would break the law to lend a hand. Vera works with pregnant women who cannot bear the burden, helping to induce miscarriages. She does without letting anyone else know and when she helps the women, she does so with the same kind heart as always. But when she is arrested for these activities, will she lose the family and friends she helped, or will they stand up to protect her?

The issue of abortion is one that has polarized our culture, as both sides remain steadfast and unwilling to budge even an inch. Then again, with human life and personal choice involved, the issue is one that will perhaps never be settled, even to a minor extent. The issue is not a new one either, as shown in Vera Drake, which takes place in 1950s England, no less. A film that centers on such as issue could polarize audiences too, if the movie played sides, but that isn’t the case here. To be sure, director Mike Leigh makes his stance known, but the film isn’t so much about the act of abortion itself. No, this is more of a character driven movie and one with intense emotion and depth. Imelda Staunton (Shakespeare in Love, Citizen X) shoulders most of the burden and does so with ease, in her finest performance to date. She garnered an Oscar nomination, but as expected, the win went to a higher profile production. This is emotional drama at a high level, a well crafted and well performed movie that never fails to hit the mark. New Line’s disc looks and sounds good, if low on supplements, so Vera Drake is given a solid recommendation.

Video: How does it look?

Vera Drake is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. As expected, this is a top notch visual presentation in all respects. The print is in pristine condition, as it should be, so all the visuals come across unhindered. The visuals do have a dark, washed out presence at times, but that is due to the production design choices. So if the colors seem a tad muted, that is no reason to be concerned, as the hues look as intended. I saw no problems with contrast either, as black levels were refined and never cast a bad shadow. So another new release from New Line and as usual, another great looking presentation.

Audio: How does it sound?

As expected in the case of a low key drama, the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix found here remains basic in function, except for the musical soundtrack. The music opens up the speakers and adds some depth to the experience, even though the film has a low key, dialogue based approach to audio, as it should be here. The vocals sound terrific and never get overpowered, while the sound effects are well covered also, just a solid, but unmemorable mix. We also have a new DTS soundtrack, but this is mostly dialogue and as such, there isn’t a massive upgrade in overall presence. The music does have more depth, as do a handful of scenes, but even so, I would rather have DTS than go without. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish, should you ever need those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

Vera Drake
MOVIE INFO.
YEAR RELEASED
2004
RATING
R
DIRECTOR
Mike Leigh
STUDIO
New Line
RUNNING TIME
125 min.


TECH SPECS
  • STANDARD DVD
  • (1.85:1)
  • Video Codec: MPEG-2
  • Audio: Dolby Digital
  • Audio: dts
  • 1 Disc Set
  • DISC FEATURES
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene(s)
  • Featurette
  • Documentary
  • Digital Copy

DISC SCORES

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SUPPLEMENTS
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