Friday 29 November 2019


Not too much watched at home in the month - a couple of films which were enjoyed and a TV series started off the back of a recommendation from my son.

More time was spent at the cinema than in front of the goggle box.

The rest of the family watched Dublin Murders and The Accident, which I wasn't too bothered about and which I managed to ignore.

Vera Drake (2004)
Not a film I ever got around to seeing at the time of its release, nor in any of the 15 years afterwards, despite the rave reviews, especially regarding Imelda Staunton's performance as Vera. I found the outcome incredibly sad, though there was an inevitability about it. I do enjoy seeing Phil Davis and Eddie Marsan on screen and they were both very good as the husband and future son-in-law. I don't always take to Daniel Mays, but he excelled as her angry son.

Recommended viewing if you've not seen it.
*Plot spoilers below in the Wikipedia summary.

From Wikipedia....

Vera Drake is a 2004 British drama film written and directed by Mike Leigh and starring Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis, Daniel Mays and Eddie Marsan. It tells the story of a working-class woman in London in 1950 who performs illegal abortions. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and it was nominated for three Academy Awards and won three BAFTAs.

Vera Drake (Imelda Staunton) is devoted to her family, looking after her husband and children, her elderly mother, and a sick neighbour. Her shy daughter, Ethel (Alex Kelly), works in a lightbulb factory, and her son, Sid (Daniel Mays), tailors men's suits. Her husband, Stanley (Phil Davis), is a car mechanic. Although Vera and her family are poor, their strong family bonds hold them together. During her working day as a house cleaner, Vera performs constant small acts of kindness for the many people she encounters.

She is a kindly person who is eager to help others. Unknown to her family, she also works secretly, providing young women abortions. She receives no money for providing this service because she believes that her help is an act of charity to women in trouble. However, her partner Lily (Ruth Sheen), who also carries on a black-market trade in scarce postwar foodstuffs, charges two guineas (two pounds and two shillings: equivalent to £67 in 2018) for arranging the abortions, without Vera's knowledge.

The film also contains a subplot about an upper-class young woman, Susan (Sally Hawkins), the daughter of one of Vera's employers. Susan is raped by a suitor, becomes pregnant, and asks a friend to put her in contact with a doctor, through whom she can obtain an abortion. The doctor refers her to a psychiatrist, who prompts her to answer questions in a certain way, so that he can legally recommend an abortion on therapeutic psychiatric grounds: that she has a family history of mental illness and that she may commit suicide if not allowed to terminate the pregnancy. The abortion costs her a hundred guineas.

After one of her patients nearly dies, Vera is arrested by the police and taken into custody for questioning. She is held overnight and appears before a magistrate the next morning. Sid is shocked by his mother's secret activities and tells his father that he does not think that he can forgive her. However, in a later conversation with Vera, he expresses fear for what could happen to her in prison, before finally telling Vera that he loves her.

Vera is bailed to appear at the Old Bailey. None of Vera's employers will give her a character reference. Her solicitor thinks she will receive the minimum sentence of 18 months in jail; the judge sentences her to two and a half years imprisonment "as a deterrent to others." This affects all the people who previously depended on Vera's kindness.

While in prison, Vera meets others who have been convicted of performing illegal abortions. They discuss their sentences, until Vera tearfully leaves, to go to her cell.

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Not a film I would necessarily have chosen to watch through choice, a friend lent us the DVD a month or two back and we were seeing them soon, so thought we'd better watch and return. I was never a fan of Queen back in the day. Don't get me wrong, they produced some fantastic songs, but they weren't my cup of tea.

Really enjoyed the film though, the performances of the cast, particularly the guy playing Freddie (name escapes me - might have won an Oscar?) were pretty damn good. I think I came away with a greater appreciation for them than I had at the start of the film. I still won't be buying any of their CDs though.

From Google....

Freddie Mercury -- the lead singer of Queen -- defies stereotypes and convention to become one of history's most beloved entertainers. The band's revolutionary sound and popular songs lead to Queen's meteoric rise in the 1970s. After leaving the group to pursue a solo career, Mercury reunites with Queen for the benefit concert Live Aid -- resulting in one of the greatest performances in rock 'n' roll history.

The End of the Fxxxing World Series 1 (2018)

The second series has just dropped and we were told by number one son to watch the thing, so have been immersed in the first season. Semi immersed I suppose as the episodes seem to be 20 minutes long each and there are only eight of them. About halfway through and I'm quite enjoying this tale of two disconnected teenagers.

From Wikipedia....

The End of the F***ing World is a British dark comedy-drama television programme, based on a graphic novel of the same name by Charles Forsman. The eight-part programme premiered its first episode on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom on 24 October 2017, after which all eight episodes were released on All 4. Netflix handled international distribution and released it internationally on 5 January 2018. The programme follows James (Alex Lawther), a 17-year-old who believes himself to be a psychopath, and Alyssa (Jessica Barden), a rebellious classmate who sees in James a chance to escape from her tumultuous home life. Gemma Whelan, Wunmi Mosaku, Steve Oram, Christine Bottomley, Navin Chowdhry, Barry Ward and Naomi Ackie appear in supporting roles.

The series is based on Forsman's mini-comics The End of the Fucking World, which were collected into a book in 2013. Series creator Jonathan Entwistle contacted him about making a film, and a short was made in 2014. Instead, an eight-part serial was commissioned, with filming beginning in April 2017. It was written by Charlie Covell, and episodes were directed by Entwistle and Lucy Tcherniak. In August 2018, the programme was renewed for a second series, which premiered on Channel 4 on 4 November 2019, after which all eight episodes were released on All 4, and internationally on Netflix the next day. Covell stated before the second series' release that she does not intend to produce a third series for the programme.

The programme has been praised for its writing, execution and subject matter, as well as for Lawther's and Barden's performances. It was nominated for the 2018 British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series.


  1. We liked Bohemian Rhapsody very much, too, Col. In all fairness, we already liked Queen and their music, but still, we thought the film was excellent. Glad you liked it, too.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Margot. I'd definitely re-watch it some time in the future.

  2. I’ve seen and liked Mike Leigh’s films, but am not familiar with this one. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY was a good one.

    1. I do think VERA DRAKE would be worth catching up with, Elgin. Enjoyed BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY a lot more than I expected to. I must try and adopt a more open mind to some of what I turn my nose up at.