Tea and the British: Vera Drake

I consider Mike Leigh’s film Vera Drake a masterpiece. English actors I think are the best in the world and the performance of Imelda Staunton is extraordinary and suffused with humanity. Indeed, this kind of cinema with its profound sensitivity and humanity, acts as a foil to the pretentious, pseudo-intellectual, melodramatic ravings of something like Lars von Trier’s movies (my apologies to his fans).

On the other hand, the funny side of British realistic cinema, and this movie in particular, is the exhaustive number of references to “tea”, “pot”, “kettle” as well as the scenes involving tea-making and tea-drinking (It seems to me that if tea was out of the way the movie would have been 30-40 minutes shorter). Indeed, the process of tea-making and tea-drinking runs as a leit-motif, and at times it is presented as a panacea for all known human ailments – be they physical or psychological. Or perhaps the embarrassment of being and existence in the UK is ideally covered with a brew…

Originally published in Translatum

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