There is a moment in Vera Drake (it is in the trailer too so you don’t actually have to go and see the film) when the police turn up and ask to see Vera. Previously the family have been having a party, and the police intrude. Imelda Staunton acts without moving a muscle, the mood changes from jolity/shock to abject realisation. It is a amazing piece of craft which is almost guaranteed to win her an Oscar*.

Apart from that (and her), Mike Leigh’s film is most notable for its loving recreation of a dark, dank 1950’s London, which i recognise from faded photos from my parents. It is, for all its emotive issue, a remarkably balanced piece. Leigh I think has finally worked out that sometime just telling the story is the best way of engaging his audience.

*Unless of course Cate Blanchett wins for her impersonation of Katherine Hepburn, who the duffers in the academy might mistake for the real thing, who they loved giving Oscars to after all.