Pro-Abortion Film Earns Seven Award Nominations at London Film Festival

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 27, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Film Earns Seven Award Nominations at London Film Festival Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 27, 2004

London, England ( — "Vera Drake" walked away with top honors in Venice and now the film that celebrates a woman who helped others obtain illegal abortions is up for seven award nominations at the London Film Festival.

The pro-abortion film is in the running for best film, best screenplay, and best British independent film.

Phil Davis is up for best actor, Mike Leigh has been nominated for best director, Imelda Staunton is a leading contender for best actress, and Eddie Marsan has been tapped for a best supporting actor award.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on November 30 and will be chosen by a jury chaired by Anthony Minghella, the director. Members of the jury include the actors Christian Slater and Cate Blanchett, and the artist Sam Taylor-Wood.

Vera Drake, named best film at the Venice Film Festival of 2004, is set in the 1950s, Vera is a cleaning lady who "helps girls out" when they are pregnant and considering an illegal abortion. One woman is a mother of seven who says she can’t afford another child, another is fearful of telling her husband she had an affair.
Vera believes it is her duty to help the women have abortions, but hides her actions from her family. She visits women in their homes and helps them obtain secret abortions she performs at hospitals — until she is jailed when one of the women is injured as a result.

Producer Mike Leigh tells Ananova press that he is proud of the film and the pro-abortion message it conveys.

"I’m pro-choice but I hope this is a film that does not bludgeon the audience in black and white. It’s a moral dilemma," Leigh said.

While the film attempts to persuade viewers that abortion should be legal because illegal abortion is dangerous, it fails to show how women have died from legal abortions.

"Vera Drake" stars Imelda Staunton, who won the best actress award at the Venice event. She is reportedly being considered for an Oscar for her role in the film.

Staunton, a British actress, admits to the San Francisco Chronicle that she worries about abortion becoming illegal again in the United States.

"Everyone is pro- or anti-, but it’s not going to go away. (But) if the laws change and it becomes illegal, it could go back to how it was in the film," Staunton said.