Erin Brockovich Reviews
Brockovich opens in small town suburban southern California during the early 1990s when the title character, Erin Brockovich (Roberts), is presented as a twice divorced mother of three who's having trouble finding a job due to her lack of education. The string of bad luck continues when Erin is hit by a car while she drove through a green light. She loses the resulting court case due to her rather explosive courtroom behavior. After the case, Erin goes back to her lawyer, Ed Masry (Albert Finney), demanding that he offer her a job. Eventually, Masry (reluctantly) accepts and offers Erin a job as a file clerk in his office.
While working at Masry's law firm, Erin stumbles across some information on a then-little-known case filed against Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) that doesn't seem to add up. Upon further investigation, Erin discovers a systematic cover-up of the industrial poisoning of a city's (Hinkley's) water supply, which in turn endangers the health of the entire community. As the film continues to progress, Erin becomes more and more invested in the case, however the time she puts into the case turns out to come at the expense of her personal life with her three kids and boyfriend, George (Aaron Eckhart). This takes a toll on Erin as she tries to balance her responsibilities to her children and to a job that has given her a sense of self-worth for the first time.
Although there are many things that make Brockovich as good as it is, its greatest strength is undoubtedly Julia Roberts' performance as the lead character. Her charismatic and believable portrayal of Brockovich make a character, that really shouldn't be as likeable on paper, work so well. This is because, despite her rudeness and constant use of profanity, Roberts makes you believe in Erin Brockovich as a living, breathing human being even as your watching her on screen, making it pretty easy to root for her right from the beginning. As the film progresses, Roberts has a few standout scenes where she just goes off on stuck up and despicable characters, which then only adds to her charm and fiery attitude. An example of this comes when PG&E lawyers come to Masry's office to discuss a price to "reimburse" the residents of Hinkley:
Ms. Sanchez (PG&E lawyer): Let's be honest here. $20 million dollars is more money than these people have ever dreamed of.
Erin Brockovich: Oh see, now that pisses me off. First of all, since the demur we have more than 400 plaintiffs and... let's be honest, we all know there are more out there. They may not be the most sophisticated people but they do know how to divide and $20 million isn't shit when you split it between them. Second of all, these people don't dream about being rich. They dream about being able to watch their kids swim in a pool without worrying that they'll have to have a hysterectomy at the age of twenty. Like Rosa Diaz, a client of ours. Or have their spine deteriorate, like Stan Blume, another client of ours. So before you come back here with another lame ass offer, I want you to think real hard about what your spine is worth, Mr. Walker. Or what you might expect someone to pay you for your uterus, Ms. Sanchez. Then you take out your calculator and you multiply that number by a hundred. Anything less than that is a waste of our time.
Roberts performance during this scene is very strong, you can feel her frustration and her passion, and in a way it's almost mesmerizing in that you forget you're watching a movie for a second. Because of this scene, and many more strong moments throughout the film, it's really not surprising that for Robert's role in Brockovich, she won the Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and various critics awards for Best Actress. As for the film's supporting characters, their acting is definitely not as engaging as Roberts', but they are still solid. Finney as Mr. Masry makes a convincing performance as a man who has a good heart but is so aware of the loopholes in his profession that he's lost a significant amount of hope in it. Eckhart as George also provides a grounded performance, but while his character is crucial to freeing up Erin to do her job, his storyline is just not as compelling when compared to the lawsuit.
Another highpoint of the film is its tone and message. The tone of the film is very real, very grounded, and even despite the film's somewhat conventional arc, Brockovich exceeds in making you feel that you are right there with Erin. Throughout the movie, the costumes and sets all look and feel authentic, Erin's home looks in need of some Extreme House Makeover, and Hinkley looks like it desperately needs some rain. Even at the very beginning of the movie, the film begins with Erin, looking very much 90s but also very messy, desperately trying to get a job. After she is declined, she is shown smoking a cigarette before getting in her car to drive home, but is instead hit by another car. This introduction to the movie is important because it sets up the tone for the majority of the movie, the cars are dated, the color palette is dull, Erin is judged by her looks and limited education. All of these details support the more gloomy and real tone that in turn reflects the gloomy state of Hinkley and the lawsuit itself. Eventually the tone starts to shift when Erin and Masry start making progress which then leads in to the message of the film. Brockovich is in no way a totally feel good movie, because, no matter what, some of Hinkley's residents will suffer until the day they die because of PG&E. However, the film does present a very strong message of hope and the power of the individual. It's a message that is significant because it speaks to everyone and builds confidence.
With Erin Brockovich, Soderbergh brought a legal drama that could have been overlooked, to the forefront and in doing so presents a real life "David vs Goliath" story where the "good guy" wins. It's a testament to the difference that one individual can actually make if they put their minds to it. And so, even with a couple missteps, Erin Brockovich resonates with us and gives us hope, because who doesn't like an underdog story.
My four-star rating stems from the great performances done by the actors, the amazing wardrobe and costume department, and the great directing. It is no secret that a good movie and a good director go hand in hand. Director Steven Soderbergh did a fantastic job at creating a film that depicted Erin Brockovichs' life and the Hinkley Water Crisis on screen in an easy going and realistic manner. The characters were likable unlike other "underdogs" that annoy the audience because we just know things would work out for them eventually. I was rooting for Erin and I was rooting for Hinkley.
When we just know we lack the experience to do the job. When we don't know what hits us when we least expect it. When we know whom to see when we are referred. When we don't want to know the results until we see it or hear both sides of the story. When others automatically know what this is about when we are broke. When what we don't know we lose out on. When others know exactly our situation when, but the deal is too sweet to pass away. We just know if you were in our shoes you would do it too. When we know we need extra help and money when it's overwhelming enough. When what others don't know won't hurt them. When we know where to go for people like us looking for a job. When others don't want to know when we are a hard ass. When we don't know what's going on, that we have to investigate. When what others don't know won't hurt them, as long as we know it. When we know others could use a helping hand or hand out. When we know our kids are in good hands, when we can afford it now. When we been down this road before, to know that we ain't going there. When what we don't know we know and it snaps us right in the butt. When what we also don't know how fast and snappy and smart some people are. When what we don't know we are informed but we don't care for others opinions or discomfort. When what we don't know could get us in trouble or fired, when others are uncomfortable with them around. When we don't know worst possible situations, we know others whom have our back when we least expect it. When what we rather not know or don't know, we stay away, as it's self assuring. When we know how to be a parent, but don't know how to be a friend or neighbour. When what we don't know or do know, we can't help ignore when they are big. When we know our role to always ask permission from the boss. When what we don't know we investigate further. When we don't know what we are looking at just yet, until it is revealed to us. When what we don't know we go to the experts. When we know somethings better than others to know how to gain access. When we know to go to the source. When what we don't know how to do, we get fired from. When what others don't know, we reveal to them our deepest thoughts and feeling when they start erupting. When others fill us in of what we didn't know, and what many people didn't know, we find our opportunity to investigate further. What we didn't know will cost us, when something so big is going to take up a lot of our time and our idea. When what we don't know others tell us. When what others don't know we inform them. When we don't know how big it gets, when word spreads and we are informed there are many. When what we neglect, we know why others are upset. When going up against giants, we know will be costly for ourselves and others. When we know how to mark this occasion with what we know best, a cake. When what we don't know or do know about being sincere, polite, and considerate we are doing it for them as equally for us. When what we don't know the lives that it destroyed when we are too busy thinking about how much the cost is. When we know we are small fishes in a shark pond. When what we know is getting us more worked up when all eyes are on us now to win or just be more decent. When we know we have to go to the source, get evidence when access is restricted and tight. When what we don't know, might get us harmed when others threaten us. When what we know, we can get but we are too busy dealing with other people's responsibilities. When sometimes people just don't know that we have plead our case to them. When what we don't know, it is revealed to us in a sweet, deep and loving way of what we don't see and are missing. When what we know, we just can't miss out on, and what we do know we are missing out on many things. When what we don't know, we can't be responsible for. When we have know whether others knew and provide evidence of whether they chose to ignore it. When not many people knew, from the law to its locals. When we know what's best and what's good to know what a company did was irresponsible and reckless. When we know also from what is good, but we plead our case to others but they don't know why they want us here. When everyone has a case on somebody when they know they take the selfish route. When we don't know how others do it, and don't care when we got other things more important to take care of. When we know we have to see this through, when much is on the line. When what we know we are passionate about, that we don't want others to handle it. When what we know, doesn't man we are not decent about knowing and presenting it. When we don't know how much this case is effecting us, that we can't separate us. When we do know every client we have seen or is invested in us, we know more then others personally. When others don't have touch like others, we know whom we trust or rely the work on. When we know how to work solo our whole life to not know how to work as a team. When somethings we didn't see or know was coming, we are angry at how things are being handled. When we know somethings, but others don't seem to see. When we do know the people need a strong leader, voice of reason and some one whom will put us ahead of their own interests. When we know we are acting selfish, and bad that what others are doing is helping those in need whom are in worse conditions. When we do know we have to meet, talk to every individual who was affected and get them on board. When knowing is half the battle, but the direct source siting next to you that can help you know more can win it. When what others don't know or are away from, they won't get far when e are in their face and asking the questions to get answers. When what others might presume, we know they are wrong by proving it and making them feel unfit for the job. When what we do know we show others and those mostly affected what payoff this was. When we don't know, those whom fight for us actually makes us feel better and stronger to heal. When we do know how hard we have been working when the payoff is rewarding. When what we didn't know what others are thinking to know now. When we know we have the best boss and best employee in the world, and the payoff is being on a team of winners.