Erin Brockovich
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Erin Brockovich (2000)

Erin Brockovich
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A twice-divorced mother of three who sees an injustice, takes on the bad guy and wins -- with a little help from her push-up bra. Erin goes to work for an attorney and comes across medical records describing illnesses clustered in one nearby town. She starts investigating and soon exposes a monumental cover-up.

Release Date:March 17, 2000
Runtime:
MPAA Rating:R
Genres:Drama
Production Company:Jersey Films
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:Steven Soderbergh, Annie Welles, Gregory Jacobs
Writers:
Casts:, , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:biography, based on true story, single mother, water pollution, environmental law
  • When feel-good becomes Oscar-worthy feel-good
    April 30, 2008

    The only thing bigger than Julia Roberts' chest in "Erin Brockovich" is the heart this film has. While it is a drama, it would be more apt to describe the plot as a struggle, because it's all about fighting for what you believe in and overcoming the odds and all opposing forces. Nothing bad actually happens in this movie, at all, but it's the complications, the setbacks the moral struggles along the way that make it shine.

    "Erin Brockovich" stars Julia Roberts in the title role in a film based on the true story of a twice-married mother of three who is desperate to find a way to make a living and provide for her family. After a failed attempt at suing for damages after a car accident, Brockovich turns to her lawyer, Ed Masry (Albert Finney), for a job doing anything she can at his law firm. Reluctantly he accepts and soon Brockovich finds herself uncovering a potentially huge case.

    Roberts had to have been a no-questions-asked best actress winner after this performance. As Brockovich she is incredible playing multiple roles as the loving mother, the driven working-woman, the troubled lover, everything. The mood swings are effortless for her. Perhaps the best element of her performance is that she comes across as glaringly flawed, even if she is quite likable. Her lines are killer and delivered with command. Though some of her rants are over the top, they're really clever nonetheless.

    Finney's character is much the same way. He is really enjoyable to watch and gives a great performance even though his character never gets truly dramatic.

    This is just a great screenplay by Susannah Grant. It's almost completely devoid of melodrama and yet it tackles so many real life issues. Brockovich's struggle to balance her work with her family brings up an issue that can connect with anyone, although the feminist tones of the film obviously won't connect as strongly with men. Director Steven Soderbergh feels very distant from the film. Every so often a shot or sequence will be artistic, but he allows the story to tell itself for the most part.

    "Erin Brockovich" is better than the average feel-good story. When there's little melodrama and great acting, a feel-good story becomes a great movie. Sports films based on true stories are feel-good stories, but they don't get nominated for best picture. While it may all seem too good to be true and the positive seems to trump the negative more times than it ought to, the film still feels very real and one that no one should miss.