In 1950s England, housekeeper Vera Drake (Imelda Staunton) is a kindly wife and mother who offers selfless devotion and unwavering care to her family, which includes her husband (Philip Davis) and two grown children (Alex Kelly, Daniel Mays). However, unknown to her friends and family, Drake provides abortions to local women with unwanted pregnancies. When the authorities learn of her illegal activities, Drake loses the admiration of many around her — and possibly her freedom.
Director: Mike Leigh
Writer: Mike Leigh
Jennifer Worth came from a sheltered background when she became a midwife in the Docklands in the 1950s. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying, not only because of their grimly impoverished surroundings, but also because of what they were expected to endure. But while Jennifer witnessed brutality and tragedy, she also met with amazing kindness and understanding, tempered by a great deal of Cockney humour. She also earned the confidences of some whose lives were truly stranger, more poignant and more terrifying than could ever be recounted in fiction.
Attached to an order of nuns who had been working in the slums since the 1870s, Jennifer tells the story not only of the women she treated, but also of the community of nuns (including one who was accused of stealing jewels from Hatton Garden) and the camaraderie of the midwives with whom she trained. Funny, disturbing and incredibly moving, Jennifer’s stories bring to life the colourful world of the East End in the 1950s.
At 31, Matilda Tristram was 17 weeks pregnant and looking forward to having her first baby. Then she discovered she had bowel cancer.
This touching and hilarious graphic memoir, which is never morose or self-pitying, starts at the moment Matilda was diagnosed and ends when her course of chemotherapy finishes in October 2013. Recording the awkward conversations, the highs and lows of treatment, the mixed blessings of receiving ‘Get Well’ cards, and the reality of still having to queue too long for croissants, Matilda captures her experiences with style and warmth. Along the way she learns to cherish the small details of life. Her beautiful and boisterous son was born without complications and is reliably keeping her up most nights.