Much will be made of Julia Roberts's wardrobe in Erin Brockovich--a brash parade of daring hemlines and Wonderbra confidence. Roberts is unabashedly sexy in the title role of this fact-based comedy-drama, but she and direc... more »tor Steven Soderbergh are far too intelligent to rely solely on high heels and cleavage. Susannah Grant's brassy screenplay fuels this winning combination of star, director, and material, firing on all pistons with maximum efficiency. With Ed Lachman, his noted cinematographer from The Limey, Soderbergh tackles this A-list project with the fervor of an independent, combining a no-frills look with kinetic panache and the same brisk editorial style he used in the justly celebrated Out of Sight.
Broke and desperate, the twice-divorced single mom Erin bosses her way into a clerical job with attorney Ed Masry (Albert Finney), who's indebted to Erin after failing to win her traffic-injury case. Erin is soon focused on suspicious connections between a mighty power company, its abuse of toxic chromium, and the poisoned water supply of Hinkley, California, where locals have suffered a legacy of death and disease. Matching the dramatic potency of Norma Rae and Silkwood, Erin Brockovich filters cold facts through warm humanity, especially in Erin's rapport with dying victims and her relationship with George (superbly played by Aaron Eckhart), a Harley-riding neighbor who offers more devotion than Erin's ever known. Surely some of these details have been embellished for dramatic effect, but the factual basis of Erin Brockovich adds a boost of satisfaction, proving that greed, neglect, and corporate arrogance are no match against a passionate crusader. (Trivia note: The real Erin Brockovich appears briefly as a diner waitress.) --Jeff Shannon« less
"Julia Roberts outdoes herself in yet another David and Goliath struggle based on a true story. Erin Brockovich (Roberts) is a down-on-her-luck mother of three who can't seem to hold down a job. After having an auto accident, she makes a bumpy transition from client to employee at the law firm and stumbles onto a case with staggering implications. It seems that utility giant PG&E has poisoned the groundwater and the local residents are getting gravely ill.The story starts poorly with scenes of Erin looking for jobs and botching her accident case. The first twenty minutes of the film could have been condensed into five. However, once the investigation of the case begins, the story is engrossing. It is a powerful and well written human interest drama centered on a tough and smart (though crude) woman who leads a passionate crusade on behalf of the victims.Director Steven Soderberg played it straight in filming this after his extremely avant-garde effort in "The Limey". His key strength here was the direction of the actors with both Julia Roberts and Albert Finney giving excellent interpretations of their characters. However, my only negative criticism of the film was the way Erin's boyfriend George was presented. George is a grubby tattoo covered biker (the tattoo on his left shoulder says "DIRTY") who behaves like Ward Cleaver with a ponytail. He is genteel, articulate, level headed, patient, sensitive and kind. All of this is so disconnected with his lifestyle that it seems inconceivable that a character this wonderful could possibly come in this package.Julia Roberts' gave a superlative performance that smashed any myth about her inability as a dramatic actor. A far cry from her accustomed lightweight romantic characters, her portrayal of Brockovich was gritty, raw and audacious. Emotionally, she commanded states from manipulative vamp and vicious harpy to sympathetic confidant and indignant crusader. This is unquestionably her best performance and legitimizes her as one of the more versatile actresses in Hollywood.Albert Finney also gave a fine performance as the bumbling but effective curmudgeon of a lawyer. He was simultaneously obnoxious and charming and created a good contrast to Roberts' character. The two of them had terrific chemistry.Aaron Eckhart was lovable as George, although as mentioned above, the character's forbearing personality didn't jibe with his rebellious culture. However, I put more of the responsibility for this on the director than on the actor.The DVD has some excellent comments by the real Erin Brockovich that lend credibility to the story. However, Brockovich is so toned down in these interviews, it makes Roberts' portrayal seem like an exaggeration. This is an excellent story that is well and believably dramatized. I rated it an 8/10. For viewers who enjoy strong dramatic performances and who are not offended by liberal profanity, I recommend it highly."
Worth every penny ! and more !
firstname.lastname@example.org | England | 06/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What was the last film I seen with Julia Roberts in? Ah, Runaway Bride, another Romanic comedy, and Notting Hill before that, same genre. So what on earth is she doing in a true-life drama? A lot actually......... I have to admit, I am a bit of a Julia Roberts fan, but never in my life did I expect she is this good. No, good is not the right word; Oscar worthy only comes close. That might make me a bit biased towards her but even the cynics cannot denied that she has broken her "pretty woman" mould and become a true character actor, besides Julia Roberts, her co-star Albert Finney is also excellent as Ed Masery, he almost steels the show with his subtle and convincing portrayal of Erin's boss and friend.As I said and you probably know, this film is based on a true-life story about a woman with no skills who found out something weird is going on and sued a multi-billion-corporation company and won the largest lawsuit payout in American history. So what makes this film differ from other "true-life-dramas"? Well, a lot of the credit must be given to Julia Roberts, her portrayal of the real Erin is truly convincing. Her performance brings the character to life; the audience can truly FEEL the way she felt, I've seen this film twice in the theatre and it's just as good the second time around.The script is sharpe, some of the dialogue from Erin is really humorous, and the drama is dealt with care and precision. This is true movie from Julia and from director Steven Soderbergh, another masterpiece to buy on DVD."
"WHEW! I'm kinda tired, Ed."
Mike Powers | Woolwich, ME USA | 03/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Erin Brockovich" is a wonderful movie! Starring Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, and Aaron Eckhart, it's based on the real-life story of Erin Brockovich, a down-on-her-luck, twice divorced former beauty queen with three young children. Having no post-high school education and few job skills, she has great difficulty finding and holding down a job. Despite her adversities, she displays a fierce grit and determination as she constantly seeks ways to support her family. Then a seemingly tragic twist of fate puts her on the road to a complete reversal of luck. After being seriously injured in a car crash, she sues the doctor who hit her. Her antagonistic personality and foul mouth cause her to lose her lawsuit. With bluff and bravado, she persuades her lawyer, Ed Masry, into giving her a job as a file clerk in his law firm. Erin finds herself intrigued by one of the cases contained in the files she's putting away. Why are people's medical records included in a simple real estate transaction? She asks Ed if she can look into it. He agrees. What Erin finds horrifies her. A large electric utility near the small town of Hinkley has been dumping a highly toxic form of chromium into the water. Citizens in Hinkley are contracting various forms of cancer and other gravely debilitating diseases. The film's main story line tells of Erin and Ed's efforts to persuade Hinkley's citizens to join in a class action lawsuit against the utility. Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, and Aaron Echhart each illuminate the screen with their superb performances. In Roberts' case, it would be easy to focus on her good looks and skimpy wardrobe and slight her acting. The fact is, though, her acting in this movie is probably her strongest attribute! Throughout the film, Roberts' character comes off as completely natural, believable, and admirable - if not always likeable. Julia Roberts is certainly deserving of her 2001 Academy Award Best Actress award!Albert Finney (nominated for Best Spporting Actor) plays the gruff, irascible, hard-working, and totally decent lawyer Ed Masry. Finney's Oscar-worthy performance is certainly the equal of Roberts. The chemistry between Roberts, the star of modern-day female movie stars, and Finney, the grizzled veteran of stage and screen, sparkles. Aaron Eckhart' s portrayal of George, the biker-turned-boyfriend and live-in baby-sitter is a refreshing change from the typical - and expected - Harley-Davidson rider stereotype. As Eckhart depicts him, George is smart, tender-hearted, probably a bit lazy, possessed with a wanderlust he keeps under control, and a thoroughly decent fellow. How director Steven Soderbergh managed to keep "Erin Brockovich" from becoming another tedious, cliché-ridden legal and family drama is intriguing, and is probably one of the key reasons for the movie's tremendous popularity. It would have been easy to turn "Erin Brockovich" into a film filled with stereotypical courtroom pyrotechnics; long, idealistic speeches about the "little guy" versus corporate America; and characters that are either too easy to hate or too easy to love. That's pretty much what I expected when I began watching the movie. Instead, I witnessed a film filled with ordinary, decent people... people with faults, to be sure; but all living their lives as best they can. Instead of slick lawyers seeking victory at any cost, there are attorneys zealously representing their clients to the best of their abilities. Instead of hapless, pitiable victims of corporate greed, the townspeople of Hinkley are portrayed as caring, decent, law-abiding citizens whose only concern is the welfare of their families. What Soderbergh has, in fact, done is present to his audiences a wonderful reflection of American life - the good as well as the bad. At the conclusion of this wonderful film, it's easy for viewers to walk away feeling pretty good... not only about the ultimate outcome of the movie, but also about the fact that we Americans are, for the most part, decent, caring, law-abiding citizens. And that makes "Erin Brockovich" a film well worth seeing!"
Hayley | 08/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No matter what role she plays, she can always make it better. And this movie is one of them. Erin Brockovich is the out of luck, out of work woman with two kids. She starts working at a local law firm with no experience. When she comes onto a case that has to do with her own town's water, she takes it with decication. Fighting coragously to win against the large company that has destroyed the water, she shows that she is a true fighter. It's not Julia's usual romance. She has never shown so much skin or played such a sassy role, but she does it wonderfully."
A GREAT lesson on how to motivate people!
Cris LaRue | Long island, NY | 02/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, language issues aside, Julia Roberts SHINES as the real-life Erin Brockovich, a dogged, unabashed crusader for justice. Erin accidentally finds out that several hundred unsuspecting residents of Hinkley, California are dead or dying from poisoned water that has exceedingly high levels of toxic chromium. This is a touching story that reminds me a lot of Sally Field's performance in Norma Rae. It's about a grass-roots effort to right a very terrible wrong, and the investigative techniques used by Erin will floor you with their sheer simplicity. It's not what she does, rather it's HOW she does what she does that makes a difference. Erin is not equipped professionally to take on this insurmountable task, but she refuses to let that stop her from trying. She's what I would call "ignorance on fire", but she's also smart as a whip.What I love most about this movie is how Roberts character gets results when others can't. She may not be the most professional (this movie is cleavage city!), or meekest person you'll ever meet (her boss says she could use a good dose of "charm school" - he's right!) but she has a way with people. True, her wardrobe doesn't hurt in her getting her way so often (especially with men), but it's her honest compassion for these victims that makes the movie work. Erin Brockovich teaches all of us a lesson in true leadership, persistence against all odds, and how to motivate people. These victims TRUST her because they know she really CARES, That's the real lesson here, and that's why she is so successful in getting them to do something they would never have done without her.This movie is a real gem. You will learn a lot about purpose, passion, corruption, romance, and how to deal with people so that they respond. And you'll also learn that door-to-door selling is NOT antiquated! Highly recommended.Cris"