Erin Brockovich (2000)

R   |    |  Biography, Drama


Erin Brockovich (2000) Poster

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.


7.3/10
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30 April 2008 | Movie_Muse_Reviews
9
| When feel-good becomes Oscar-worthy feel-good
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.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Albert Finney initially turned down the film. Danny DeVito had to convince Finney's girlfriend to convince the actor to change his mind, offering to schedule all of the actor's scenes as Ed Masry closer together so he wouldn't have to be in Los Angeles as long as earlier scheduled.


Quotes

Ed Masry: I'd love to help, Erin, but I'm sorry, I have a full staff right now, so...
Erin Brockovich: Bullshit. If you had a full staff, this office would return a client's damn phone calls.


Goofs

Erin's kids are playing the Monopoly: Harley-Davidson Authorized Edition, which was not released until 1997.


Crazy Credits

The Young and the Restless (1973) and Wheel of Fortune (1975): Courtesy of Columbia TriStar Television.


Alternate Versions

In the TV version aired on NBC, it mutes the several uses of the f-word [usually changing it from f*cking to freaking, or sometimes even cutting out the line[s] of dialogue]. It also, to supposedly make up for lost time during editing, adds a scene not shown on the theatrical or home video version of the film [although it was added as a deleted scene in the DVD]: Erin goes out to her car after storming into the office and shouting at Ed. She feels still feels very sick and then faints. It lands her in the hospital where George comes to visit [explaining why George would come and take care of Erin's kids while she went to get the signatures]. Ed also comes to visit and pleads her to not make stunts like she did again. Erin apologizes and says she's coming to the town meeting, sick or not.


Soundtracks

Redemption Day
Performed by
Sheryl Crow
Written by Sheryl Crow
Courtesy of A&M Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Biography | Drama

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