Watching a film is a voyeuristic experience and Mike Leigh structures things so that the conditions are right to increase the chances of real moments between actors, which means that you feel as if you are watching private experiences that are both small and powerful. Assembling a crew and casting are parts of a delicate and magical process that is similar to cooking. With Vera Drake the ingredients are perfectly matched and balanced to create a work that is greater than the sum of its parts. Thoughout the film everything is quiet and subtle and understated. It slowly sucks you in and then takes a long time to leave you. You watch a family experiencing life through a series of small moments that add up to a larger story that touches on larger issues. It’s not about the issue but how people live their lives and it lets us share in something remarkable. This is what filmmaking can do better than anything else.
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