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The film is based upon a true story about a woman of the same name. Erin Brokovich tells the story of a down on her luck, single mother, who at the start of the film loses her own lawsuit for an injury she sustained in a car accident. She talks her way into a job with her lawyer as a means of compensation for the fact that they lost the case. While doing some filing Erin starts to investigate a series of old cases which brings about one of the most successful law suits in American history.
Julia Roberts play Erin, who's a trashy, mini skirt clad, southerner with tons of attitude. She pulls this off excellently in my opinion. There are many supporting characters. Notably, Ed Masry who is Erin's lawyer/boss played by Albert Finney and Aaron Eckhart who is Erin's love interest/babysitter, George.
At first I didn't realise the film was based on a real story and when I found out I was really intrigued to learn more about Erin. From what I have read it seems that the film has stuck as closely as possible to what really happened, and I have to say that I am amazed by it. It's such a triumphant story, that although sad in places, really encapsulates the power of people sticking together, and what can be achieved when you have the right person on your side. Although the acting is great, it really is the story that sold it to me. Well worth a watch.
Released in: 2000
Running Time: 131 minutes
Age Certificate: 15
Available for: £4.77 Amazon (23/07/12)
Erin Brockovich was released in 2000 and is based on a true story. It is rated 15 as it contains strong language and one strong sex reference and the film is 126 minutes long.
Erin is a single mother of three with no job or no prospects. She didn't think things could get any worse but then she is involved in a car accident and her lawyer fails to win her any compensation money. Desperate for some money, she begs the lawyer to give her a job as a file clerk in his office and he reluctantly agrees.
While sorting through the files, Erin comes across a pro bono case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company but soon realises that all of the information there doesn't add up. Erin starts to work more and more on the files and begs Ed, her boss, to take the case back on and she helps him find out what has really been happening and why all of the people are getting so ill.
Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich
Albert Finney as Edward L. Masry
Aaron Eckhart as George
Marg Helgenberger as Donna Jensen
Tracey Walter as Charles Embry
Peter Coyote as Kurt Potter
Cherry Jones as Pamela Duncan
Erin Brockovich-Ellis as Julia, the waitress
- Deleted scenes
- Isolated Score
- Making of
- The real Erin Brockovich featurette
I hadn't heard of this true story before watching the film but after watching it, it really opened my eyes to what goes on in some of the big companies.
Julia Roberts plays Erin Brockovich, but the real woman had a small cameo in the film too. Even though Erin has all this bad stuff going on around her, she is so determined to help the people that are getting ill because of PG&E. Roberts really brought Erin to life, giving her such strength and she came across as a really powerful character who would go to any lengths to help people in need.
The film has a fantastic story and it really amazed me the first time I saw it after learning it was based on true events. Erin Brockovich has me hooked each time I watch it because it manages to tell this tragic story while adding some humour too. It can be quite hard to watch at times when we learn what some of the ill people have had to go through and how badly PG&E have treated them. I felt so sorry for them because none of them could afford good medical care and were living in pretty bad conditions which weren't helping the illnesses.
Erin Brockovich has been one of my favourite films for a long time and it never fails to keep me in my seat the whole way through. Sometimes it can feel like the film is dragging on as it is over 2 hours long but there aren't any really long boring parts. I highly recommend watching this film if you haven't seen it already.
Erin Brokovich is a 2000 film directed by Steven Soderbergh & starring Julia Roberts. It had a budget of $51,000,000 and grossed $256,271,286 which goes to show just how popular the film was.
Erin Brokovich (Roberts) is an unemployed single mother with three children who is involved in a car accident and when her lawsuit is thrown out and she's broke she ends up begging her lawyer, Edward Masry (Albert Finney) for a job.
Erin begins working as a filist at Ed's office and she finds some files on a case against PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric Company) and she starts to snoop in the files and when she starts to make a little more sense of the files she begs Ed to take the case back on and get involved with helping the people. She ultimately finds out that PG&E are responsible for a huge list of illnesses amongst the residents of Brinkley after contaminating their water and then decides that she's going to help the people bring a case against PG&E.
Ed is not happy with Erin's decision at first but then she manages to persuade him that this is for the best but it's not long before they are drowning in paperwork and fast running out of funds to fight the case with but will Erin be able to pull people together and get the results that she and everyone in Brinkley wants?
Julia Roberts portrays the real life character of Erin Brokovich very well and really helps to bring this film to life. The story has an air of tragedy around it as you meet some of the people who have been infected by the contaminated water supply and get to see just how bad this is affecting their lives and some of them have deadly illnesses yet not enough money to pay medical bills or leave their family comfortable if they pass away.
The storyline is one that grips my attention everytime I see this film and I think it's fantastically well written. The running time is 130 minutes and although this is quite long for a film I think it's just perfect for this film as it gives you plenty of time to meet some of the affected people and for the storyline to really play out to it's full potential.
I would highly recommend this film & for this reason I am rating it 5/5. Julia Roberts portrays the character extremely well and the storyline is amazing. The entire cast of this film act very well and for just £3.98 from Amazon.co.uk I would definitely recommend purchasing it.
Erin Brockovich is the incredible uplifting true story about a young mother with 3 young children who manages to win a legal damages of 6 million dollars for a small town when she discovers that the water pipes have been poisoned & have been making people seriously ill & even killing them.
Erin Brockovich, played by Julia Roberts is arguably her best performance to date & with the exception of Pretty Woman is my favourite film of hers. She's fantastic as the twice divorced mum of three who along with her boss Ed investigate this huge case in a small town law office & end up achieving the biggest law suit payout in history. This is an incredible story that will have you hooked from start to finish.
Erin has no qualifications, the only thing she has is that she won a beauty contest when she was younger. Ed gives Erin a job as his legal secretary after she wouldn't take no for an answer. Erin was in a minor car accident that wasn't her fault & Ed promises to win her compensation which he fails to do so as a form of compensation she demands a job so she can look after her 3 kids. At first people avoid her because of her controversial dress sense & her foul language but they grow to love her eventually.
When a rough & tough biker moves in next door to her he firstly wants to help look after her children while she's at work which she reluctantly agrees to. When she sees how great he is with them & how much the children like him her opinion on him changes & they eventually become a couple. He gives her support when she needs it the most, both for the children & for herself.
This film will have you hooked from start to finish as Julia Roberts portrays Erin Brockovich brilliant, this film was also in a record books for being the first female lead to be awarded a $20 million pay check & it was well deserved, this is Julia Roberts at her absolute best & I don't think any film like this has even come close to this. It manages to mix in humour with Erin's witty one liners with real tragedy & it is done in a tasteful way that really gives justice to this remarkable story. I really can't praise this film enough, it's one of my all time favourites. Any fan of Julia Roberts will love this.
The DVD has extras such as deleted scenes, commentary, make of the movie, theatrical trailer & an interview with the real Erin Brockovich which is extremely interesting to watch.
This movie was absolutely AMAZING! Especially because it is based on a true story. It is so amazing because it is about one small town woman who goes above and beyond in her effort to bring down a corporation who has ruined millions of lives in their pursuit of success.
The story is about Erin Brockovich, a real life woman who became a hero to millions. Julian Roberts fantastically plays Erin, a single mother of two, who is desperately seeking work. Erin has had a run of bad luck. One day she gets hit by a car, so she hires a lawyer to sue the driver in order to pay her mounting doctor's bills from the injury. However, Erin's lawyer is unable to win the case and Erin walks away with nothing.
Erin is so desperate for work that she badgers her lawyer who failed her in her case to give her a job. After a lot of pushing by Erin he finally agrees to give her a secretarial position. When Erin begins work, none of the other women in the office will take her seriously because of her trashy work clothes and her bold and in your face attitude. However, that all changes when Erin begins to investigate a case involving Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PEG). While investigating, Erin discovers that PEG has been trying to quietly buy up land that has been contaminated by hexavalent chromium, a very deadly toxin that the company has been unethically and illegally burying in the ground, which in turn has contaminated the water supply on the land that they are trying to buy up.
When they talk the people into selling their land they get them to sign a document that is unreadable because of the legal jargon stating that the people cannot sue PEG for any medical problems they may have after drinking their water.
The effects that people have experiences from this water are cancer, death, loss of organs, becoming sterile, and the list goes on and on. As Erin digs deeper she finds more and more evidence against PEG and becomes the main person leading her little law firm in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history.
This is a must see movie, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Based on a true story, Erin Brockovich has got to be one of my all time favourite films that I can keep watching over and over again and enjoy it just as much the second time around as I did the first.
I'm a huge fan of Julia Roberts, I think she is an extremely attractive and talented actress, and I can't think of any film that she has been in that I haven't enjoyed. She throws herself into all of the roles she is tasked with and I think she pull them off to a tee, which makes her one of Hollywoods most famous actresses to this day.
Erin Brockovich is based on a true story where a normal day to day women decides to take it upon herself, with the backing of a mjaor law firm to obtain the largest settlement for negligence in a US lawsuit.
Julia Roberts plays the lead as Erin Brockovich, a mother of three, that scrimps and save to survive as the fathers of her children have all walked out on her. When one day she is involved in a car accident which is clearly not her fault, and tries to claim compensation as a result of her injuries sustained. As her lawyer, Ed Masry, he fails to win her any compensation for a claim and as a result, because he feels sorry for her and her children, he offers her a position working for him, at his law firm.
Erin Brockovich has a great personality, she has couldn't care less attitude, will say what she thinks and is not bothered about what people think of her, so when she starts to work for Ed, her character does not fit into the environment and she starts to make enemies as opposed to friends.
Erin does not come from a legal background and is recruited as a secretary, being aware of various cases that are going on, she comes across files that are of interest to her, and takes it upon herself to investigate the case further. Not being in the office, she gets fired until Ed realises that she has been working and she has come across some extremely important information on the case that he is working on, resulting in him taking Erin back and also giving Erin a payrise and benefits.
Erin slowly becomes obsessed with the case, it being that chromium 6 had polluted the water of a certain part of California, HInkley, which had made residents of that area extremely ill, with life threatening diseases and illnesses. She was certain that the water company were going to pay for what they had done and for ruining the lives of many people from the Hinkley area.
With the backing of Ed, he continues to let her befriend the resident of Hinkley who take to her well, because she is an honest and caring person. Working all hours god sends, Erin throw herself into what she has found to be something she can be good and will not drop it at all.
Julia Roberts general personality shows in this film, her bubbly character which makes the film slightly funny, however extrememly serious in another sense. A better actress could not have been chosen for this partiuclar role.
Ed Masry played by Albert Finney, another great actor, comes across as intimidated by ERin and her actions, however lets her get on with what she is doing as trying to tell Erin one thing, she will go and do the other.
With the help from her next door neighbour George (Aaron Eckhart) who becomes her partner, you see there relationship start to distance as Erin becomes more and more involved in the case.
This is a great film, one of Julia Robert's best performance's I think and was a pleasure to watch.
Anyone, who has read my 28 Days review, will know that I have a great respect for Susannah Grant. I also am very interested in lawyers and cases as that is the profession that I am in, so this movie was an obvious choice for me and when I watched the recent documentary The Real Julia Roberts, it reminded me that the first time I watched this I didn't give it a fair chance. So I dug it out of my DVD collection and popped into my DVD player, not really expecting much...
Erin Brockovich is the true story of, well, Erin Brockovich. A single divorcee, who is the mother of three young children, Matthew 8, Kate 6 and baby Beth aged 10 months. She is intelligent, witty and attractive. But many companies seem reluctant to hire her. Indeed the opening scene is that of her applying for a medical job, but being instantly dismissed, due to the clothes that she wears and the foul language she uses. When she leaves for this interview, a speeding jaguar hits her. She seeks legal advice from Ed Masry, and takes the case to court, where she is again, dismissed because the driver of the Jag is a doctor and rich and she is in their eyes scum. This is just another example of the prejudice that Erin faces everyday; just because of the clothes she wears. She is extremely poor, with only 74 dollars in the bank, as she often screams. So after being laughed out of many more interviews, she basically bullies her way into the law firm that Ed owns. Telling him that she has three children to feed and he can sack her if it all goes wrong.
Again at work, she faces prejudice; all the other women at the office talk and go out together, but don't include her in their fun. Whilst Erin is filing a case for Ed another one catches her eye, a Pro Bono case, which is about PG&E buying out the Jensen's home. She asks whether she can investigate the case further, Ed agrees, so she gets off to work. She quickly discovers that PG&E have been paying for the Jensen's medical bills, because of chromium they have been putting in the Hickley water. PG&E have assured all the residents that it is fine, and even beneficial to their health. But Erin finds out different. Texevalius Chromium can cause, tumours, cancer, chronic headaches and nose bleeds...
Erin finds out that the 28 billion dollar company have been putting more than the allowed levels of this chromium into the water. So she works tirelessly to bring this case to the for front............
Erin Brockovich is a story about how one seemingly ordinary person, can touch and make a big difference in 100's of peoples lives, just by being true to themselves and working hard. It truly is an under dogs story, and one that I'm sure everyone can relate to.
Erin is the kind of person, who isn't afraid of what people may say about her. I think that has to be respected, sometimes I wish I was like that, free of worrying. She is a hard workingwomen, who isn't afraid to just ask for help. I like the way that she is portrayed in this movie; after all it is really about her and not the Hickley versus PG&E case. It may not be strictly true to life, but I think that the audience sees this unlikely person go through a journey of grand proportions. If you didn't know it was a true story, you would almost certainly call it unrealistic.
Ed Masry is probably the character I have the most trouble with. Susannah and Stephen seem to focus so much on developing and forming Erin as a character, there really seems little reason to have this character. Yes he is necessary, but the filmmakers really could of elevated him, by making him a more interesting character, instead of just a stereotypical lawyer who has been jaded by his work.
Aaron Eckhart goes through an appearance change in Erin Brockovich. He plays George, Erin's new neighbour, who at first comes off as a biker thug but once the audience get to know him, realize that he is a actually someone, who wants to help, and Erin finds that hard to except. He is good with the kids, kind, gentle and seemingly perfect. But will Erin be able to except that not everyone is out to make her life hell?
Julia Roberts won her first Oscar for this role. I can defiantly see why. She is fantastic as the enigmatic Erin. Absolutely brilliant. She understands her character and in turn becomes her character. She deals with the emotional scenes well, but she is also brilliantly feisty when the role calls for it. From what I can imagine, this is a pretty hard role to pull off, after all it is such a change to her usual, safe romantic comedy roles. It was a brave decision for Julia to play this not necessarily likeable role. But it showcased he talents brilliantly and forced audiences to see her in a different light. It also allowed her to do different roles such as Full Frontal, Oceans Eleven and its upcoming sequel Oceans Twelve (all directed by Stephen Soderbergh) and the also upcoming Closer, which has received brilliant reviews.
The reason I don't like Ed Masry isn't because of the way Albert Finney portrays him, on the contrary, I think he does some brilliant work with the little source material he has. He is believably hectic and jaded. He does however play it safe a little too much for me, unlike Julia, he doesn't do anything to make himself noticed. It is a subtle performance, as Albert knows his character is key, and just plays the character down. This is an interesting way to play the character, but I don't think that it is wholly successful. Albert has been in other films such as big Fish, Traffic (also directed by Stephen Soderbergh) and Breakfast Of Champions.
As I said before Aaron Eckhart goes through a transformation in this movie. I didn't recognise him until I saw the credits at the end. As George, he isn't integral. Near the beginning the movie looks like it's just going to be another love story, in which he is pretty key, but as the movie moves on to more 'serious stuff' he is kind off left behind. You can also see Aaron in Nurse Betty (very good) Suspect Zero or Pay check.
Marg Helgenberger is probably best known for her role as Catherine Willows in CSI: Crime Scene Investigators. In the shows she displays some pretty good acting skills, and in Erin Brockovich she doesn't disappoint either. She plays the often ill ridden Donna Jensen, who has been dooped by PG&E into thinking that the chromium is good for her health. She has to deal with the thought that her family could fall apart. She isn't given all that much to do, but when she is given good emotional material to work with, she is brilliant.
Other cast members; David Brisbane, Dawn Didawick, Valente Rodriguez, George Rocky Sullivan and Julie marks.
As I have said many times, I have a great respect for Susannah Grant's work. She has a knack for writing about important and interesting subject, while not making them to heavy. She perfectly balances humour with drama in this movie. What she writes is frank honest and unapologetic. She isn't afraid to write about bad people doing good things or visor versa. I think that she is brilliant, and manages to make thought provoking, thinking films hit the main stream, which is no mean feat. I think the writing was one of the best parts of this movie, and without Susannah on board, I don't think it would have been half as good. If you want to see other examples of her work see 28 Days (much, much, much recommended) The Disney flick Pocahontas (which was fairly good if not brilliant) and the brilliantly addictive Party Of Five (which produced two huge starlets Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt)
Okay, now I have to admit, that I don't know very much about Stephen Soderbergh, so I will have to base my opinion souly on this film. I think he does very well; he keeps the audience attention, when it could be quite boring, he draws good performances out of the actors and makes it visually exciting. Although, after I watched oceans Eleven I had to watch it again, to like it and the same goes for this. I think there is a lot to take in the first time around. Overall I think that this is a brilliant addition, to his gleaming back lot of movies. Which includes Welcome To Collinwood, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, Far From Heaven, Pleasantville, Out Of sight, Solaris and Full Frontal.
So what did I think off the movie all together? Well I thoroughly enjoyed watching it as an intelligent flick, which single handedly changed Julia's image, and brought an interesting women's life into the for front. Brilliantly directed and well handeled by the brilliant Susannah Grant. A really enjoyable movie, which may start off slow, but as the movie progresses, you will find yourself becoming more and more involved in the character's, plot and come out of it with a little more appreciation of the strugglers people have to go through to make an impact, in a world, where stereotypes are very, very hard to break.
Special Features are few but are of good quality.
An interesting Making Of documentary is worth a look, as, it charts well the high and lows of filming and attempt to let the audience know a little more about the actual person.
Two interesting short interviews with the real Erin Brockovich and Ed Marsy which is interesting to see the difference between to on screen characters and the real people that inspired the movie.
And some deleted scenes that also can have director's commentary thrown in. It is good to see that Stephen did have such a passion for this project as he puts a lot of effort into making the audience know exactly why he took the scenes out of the movie.
Now for the prices, and other information.
On Amazon DVD: £7.97 ASIN: B00004W4GT
On Amazon VHS: £5.99 ASIN: B00005955H
Global Video: DVD £6.99
The hut.com: DVD £7.00
A Little Bit More About The Real Erin Brockovich:
Erin married actor Eric Ellis in 1999. This is not the biker George, played by actor Aaron Eckhart in the film, although the biker was in fact based on a real person. Erin's 1999 marriage was her third trip to the alter. She was first married in 1982 to a restaurant manager named Shawn Brown, with whom she had two children, Matthew and Katie. Erin and Shawn divorced in 1987. After becoming a secretary at a Reno brokerage, it was there that she met her third husband, stockbroker Steven Brockovich. The two married in 1989 and had one child, her youngest daughter, Elizabeth. Erin and Steven divorced in 1990. Currently, Erin Brockovich-Ellis lives with her husband and children in Agoura Hills, California
Thank You As Always for reading and rating this review, it really does mean a lot. Thank you as always : ) Jay
Erin Brockovich is the 2000 film from director Steven Soderbergh, based on the true story of a small local community rising to its feet to tackle a corporation in the courts. It has been highly critically acclaimed, and many believe it to be Julia Roberts' finest performance.
Erin Brockovich is a jobless, divorced single mum. When her lawyer fails to win her a settlement following a car crash, she persuades him to let her have a job in compensation for the loss. Immersed in her new job, Erin stumbles on a cover-up involving the local water supply and the medical condition of many inhabitants of the community. Armed with facts and witnesses, Erin sets about achieving the largest ever settlement in the US.
The Cast and Performances
Julia Roberts excels as Erin Brockovich. The emotions we see the character go through in all aspects of her life are well portrayed to the audience. Albert Finney is lawyer Ed Masry who gives Erin the job, and his support acting is full of his experience. Aaron Eckhart provides a love interest in the film, and his on screen connection with Roberts shows us just how strenuous a task the single mum has undertaken. The emotional turmoil of a woman trying to achieve such a huge thing at the same time as raising a child on her own is tackled with great skill by all involved.
Soderbergh has created a very good film here. It is not one of my favourites, but very good nonetheless. Based on a true story, the script is there to begin with, but it still needs good directing and acting to bring it to the screen in a believable way. And this is what I felt. Emotionally, this film is brilliant, and it is easy to see why many regard this as Roberts' finest performance. She is aided by some very good mood setting from Soderbergh, and the score heightens the mood at the right times. The whole ensemble is well planned, and it is obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into a film based on a true story that I could see was important to so many.
The message the film gives out that big corporations are susceptible to attacks from small communities and the tale of the underdog is a strong one. It is inspiring, and that is the mood I had when I finished watching the film - I was inspired. It is perhaps not my type of film, but you cannot deny the quality.
There is not much negative to say about the film. At times it does drag, asuch is trhe importance of including all the details. With a fictional script, perhaps Soderbergh would have amended details to make it more watchable all the way through, but this is by no means a criticism of the story. How can it be? It's true!
A very well made film with some great acting, and based on a true story.
I rate this film at 4 stars out of 5.
The DVD is available form amazon.co.uk for £4.98
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk
Thanks for reading
Julia Roberts is excellent as the brassy single mum who ends up doing battle with a large company over a case of contaminated water and the feect it had on the lives of a number of locals living close to the companies plant.
What makes this film even more fascinating is that it is a true story and the character that Roberts plays is still very much alive today and still battling big business.
The story opens with Roberts storming out of traffic court after losing a case for compensation where she was the victim in a motor accident, her rather slimy middle aged lawyer had coached her to fake her injuries but having lost she was left to face financial hardship as the single mother to three young children.
After losing her job she blames the lawyer and forces him to hire her in his legal practice, while doing a menial filing job she stumbles across a case that leads her down a path that will affect not only her life but many others as well.
This film has some very funny and some very touching moments and for me is probably Roberts best ever performance as an actress. Brokovich is a trampy character showing lots of cleavage and wearing trailer park clothing, she has a sharp tongue and in the film has some cutting one liners which I will not repeat here so that it does not spoil your enjoyment.
This is a long film but it is well worth watching as it is a great story with a lot of funny moments in it.
This is the awe inspiring story about a woman who had the courage of her convictions and helped a small community overpower a huge company.
The film has Julia Roberts as the lead role. A quality choice in my opinion.
At the time I thought it was her best performance to date. She plays a single mother who has been married and divorced twice. She manages to "convince" her lawyer played by Albert Finney to employ her at his law firm when he is unable to win a case for her leaving her with nothing.
She is seen as the underdog in the office by her colleagues because she is less experienced than them..
This opinion soon changes when she suspects that there is more than meets the eye in a case where residents in a small community are all becoming seriously ill due to suspected water contamination. The company involved has more money than sense and have so far managed to keep people from finding out just what is going on behind their gates.
The residents really start to bond with Erin through her genuine concern, and pleasing manner. She wants the best for these people and they soon realise that she is on their side. The work she does is incredible, she goes from interviewing the people to taking water samples herself because her boss doesn't want to open that can of worms. He knows his company can't handle that size of case. However when her findings prove she is right he calls in the big guns causing chaos everywhere. The residents won't talk to them and Erin won't help them because they are not interested in what is best for the community but more the good that it will do them.
Eventually they have to give in an let Erin carry the case.
Her remarkable story was only possible because of her biker neighbour who soon became her boyfriend, while she worked day and night on the case he supported her and tended to her children.
This woman's story truly inspires and the film is a must see, whether you like Julia Roberts or not you will enjoy the film.
Its a modern day David and Goliath.
As a new owner of a PC equipped with a DVD drive, I have started to watch films at home again. I have a massive backlog, as going to cinema has been a rare experience since my daughter was born.
Few days ago, as a part of backlog-clearing exercise, I subjected myself to watching Erin Brockovich. It is a drama, made in 2000 by Steven Soderbergh, who shot up to fame with overhyped triteness of 'Sex, Lies and Videotapes' and whose filmography includes amongst others 'Solaris', "Traffic', and 'Ocean's Eleven'. It stars Julia Roberts and Albert Finney.
The film is based on a true story. I could probably safely assume that anybody reading this review with an intention to buy or rent the DVD is question would be at least vaguely familiar with the plot, including the outcome. But in the seemingly unbreakable convention of film reviews, I have to start with a plot-teaser.
Erin Brockovich is a single, unemployed, unqualified mother of three kids, who, due obviously to the total inadequacy of the American welfare system, faces destitution and humiliation (including the need to steal medicines for her children from the pharmacy). She manages to bully her way to a job of filing clerk with a lawyer's firm belonging to Ed Masry. During her filing she encounters a pro-bono file, which catches her eye. She investigates a bit more, on paper and than on location, and discovers a truly horrific case of a corporate behemoth - a utility company PG&E - which has been systematically polluting the water supply in the town of Hinkley, while blatantly lying to the residents about it. Meanwhile the population of Hinkley has been slowly but surely dying out from a plethora of chromium-poisoning related causes, including cancers, miscarriages and numerous other complaints. Erin is instrumental in gathering the evidence and then persuading Ed Masry to take the case on. The rest of the film shows her relentless drive in building and then fighting the Hinkley versus PG&E case.
I will leave it here for those of you who managed to miss all the publicity and don't know how the Hinkley lawsuit story ends and what becomes of Erin. It is a true story and a brilliant one at that, an archetypal case of the underdog taking on the mighty with virtually no hope of success; it's the other face of the American dream where one good person, often an unlikely candidate, fights the injustice threatening to overwhelm the community. Like in westerns, really, although Erin stops short of swaggering about with two Colt revolvers.
It is not a Cinderella story, by any means: at the end of the film Erin still dresses like a whore, swears like a trooper and there is no sign of her obtaining a trophy husband. You couldn't get further away from the Pretty Woman and it has to be A Good Thing...
CHARACTERS AND CASTING
The whole film, however, is more of a portrait of Erin Brockovich then the account of the Hinkley case. She is sassy, brassy, feisty, big-mouthed but with a heart of gold. She dresses as a trailer-trash whore (no, really, she does) and she refuses to change when a fashion re-haul is suggested. The message is clear - she won't be judged on her looks, she will be judged on who she really is. Despite two failed marriages, three kids and a total lack of qualifications or measurable skills she has not lost her faith in herself, she has confidence and assertiveness and numerous times wins one over the stuffy corporate lawyers in sharp suits. You see, Erin has not been to the law school, but she is great with people, she has masses of drive, energy and the right kind of attitude. Overall, her character is pretty one-dimensional. Despite her own declarations to the contrary, she never seems to have any doubts about herself. There is a minor conflict regarding the person of the biker neighbour, who, initially just baby-sitting, ends up eventually in Erin's bed and who feels justifiably neglected when she starts to work longer and longer hours as the case develops. As the result she misses her baby-daughter’s first word… But her commitment to the people of Hinkley (and her own newly found feeling of being respected and important) is unshaken.
Julia Roberts, despite remaining her pouting, frizzy-haired, doe-eyed, annoying self, is cast very well in the part of Erin. The limited range of emotions, pushy and wide-sweeping gestures and reliance on swearing as the main means of conveying Erin's salt-of-the-earthness suits Julia Roberts and although I wouldn't call it an Oscar-worthy performance (The Academy must really want to give her one for some inexplicable reason as she actually won one!), she does OK. On seeing the real Erin (who, by the way, has a cameo part in the movie) the fit of the casting is particularly noticeable, despite Roberts being substantially more attractive than the real Erin.
Erin's main counterpart is Ed Masry, played well if safely by Albert Finney. He is a hardworking, well-meaning small-firm lawyer, a li'l bit cynical but still in possession of this article, ubiquitous anywhere near Julia Roberts: the heart of gold. He gets persuaded to risk his personal wealth and the future of the law firm and takes the Hinkley case on, undoubtedly led on mostly by his outraged conscience, but aided on his quest by the perspective of bagging 40% of any monies awarded to the victims. Finney’s character is also rather one-dimensional and he sometimes does seem embarrassed to say his lines. I was wondering if this was the effect desired by the director, or was it an accident or perhaps I just imagined it…
Interaction of these two constitutes one of the main dynamics of the movie and is actually quite entertaining (weirdly enough, not a single suspicion of sexual attraction on the side of Mr Masry is raised, even though Erin uses her looks to a great advantage with other male characters). Erin defies Ed’s classifications and earns his respect, first given grudgingly and later on enthusiastically.
Other characters are fairly schematic (not that Erin and Ed weren't). The big corporate lawyers are all lizardy, bolshy and snobby. The Hinkley people are portrayed in a series of small vignettes rather than en masse and are portrayed sympathetically; but without undue (or due, come to think of it) sentimentalism. They are dignified and contained in their suffering and anger. It is a good picture, but also, I cannot help thinking, bit simple. There is a glimpse of how rich a portrayal it could be in a scene where the Hinkley people, gathered for a meeting with their lawyers; start to squabble and argue about who suffered more and how the money still not awarded should be divided.
I guess we are getting near my main problem with Erin Brockovich: I would have liked to see a film about the case, the story of Hinkley so to speak. Somehow, despite the movie's title, the publicity and the face of Julia Roberts staring from many a poster at the time of the film's release, I managed to maintain that expectation and was disappointed when I discovered that the film was just what it said on the box: the story of Erin. And despite the good fit between the character and the actress and despite the inherent attractiveness of the story itself, I didn't like Erin. She seemed downright rude most of the time, I also found it extremely unlikely that a person portrayed as having such a temper and flaring up with a stream of profanities on the slightest provocation (and without) from everybody would hardly ever as much as raise her voiced against her children.
I also didn't like the way I was supposed to like her from the start, before she showed her real qualities, just on the basis of saying ‘fuck‘ a lot and having three kids and no means of support.
I didn't like the constant equation of lack of education, profanity-loaded language, trashy clothes and poverty with being somehow automatically on the side of the angels. It seemed to perpetrate the same kind of stereotype Erin was fighting, just from the other side.
I didn't like the fact that the film missed almost all of the court action, including the final verdict. In such stories I expect the big triumph, and here I was denied it. I didn't like the way Erin's total commitment to the case to the exclusion of her family was portrayed as something almost unqualifyingly positive.
I didn't like the way the extortionate 40% taken in lawyers’ fees was glossed on (no, in fact, it was positively justified).
Why three stars, then? Well, it wasn't a bad film, it just was worse than I thought it would be. Although never exactly gripping, it wasn't boring, it provided reasonable evening's entertainment without being particularly diverting, the story was good and worth knowing.
The casting of the two main actors was very good, especially Julia Roberts.
It had one moment of cinematic magic, which earns it an extra half star: the case is to be passed on to Big Lawyers. The Big Lawyers take the case notes, denigrate Erin's effort and try to doubt her knowledge of the case. As an example of the missing bits of information that would have to be amended, the lack of telephone numbers on the individual files is given. I reply, Erin, roused by the righteous indignation, stands up, fires up and, for randomly selected name, one of over 600; recites the lot: the phone number, the address, the medical history. The viewers’ disbelief is suspended. The idea that maybe somebody else except Erin might to want to use the file doesn't even cross our mind. We are enthralled. Triumphal Julia/Erin rules that moment. Sadly, that does not stretch to the rest of the movie.
Overall, it's a nice, quite small (despite its provenance) feelgood movie that would be probably best suited to female audience of pre-retirement age (I mean 13-59 age bracket) but can be also enjoyed by many men, especially ones not limiting their viewing to action/thrillers. Hardly taxing, obviously.
I cannot comment on the soundtrack as I simply didn't notice it. I am not a musical animal and it has to be very memorable to barely register at all.
I watched it on a 17’’ computer monitor and the picture and sound quality seemed perfectly acceptable as far as my requirements go, but then I am not very discerning viewer, and of course I cannot vouch for quality on home-cinema big screen or even a normal 21'' or bigger television.
I am rarely interested in extras, as far as I am concerned each DVD could be just like a VHS video: film is a film is a film. For the purpose of this review, I made a note of them though and even sampled one or two:
*The usual ‘Making of’ featurette which I simply couldn't be bothered to watch as I had enough of EB after the film.
*Short interviews with real Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry which bring nothing new to the story, but confirm the great casting decisions.
* Deleted scenes on its own, and, additionally, and to complete the overload, deleted scenes with the directors commentary. I watched several, and most of them seemed fairly trite and definitely better out of the movie than in. The director's commentary was quite interesting as he justified removal of each of the scenes very thoroughly, and the feeling that the film was well thought out and not put together in a half-random way was indeed present throughout the movie. One of the deleted scenes (Erin having to steal medicine for her baby from a pharmacy) just made me think again about the richest state on earth which doesn't even provide medial care and prescriptions for its poor children…
I rented it from Blockbusters as a part of 'three for a fiver' 7-day deal.
The DVD is available from Amazon for 7.97GBP, and can be had second hand for less than a fiver.
It's certifacate 15, which must be due to the number of times ERin says 'fuck' as otherwise there is nothing in the film that would be remotely offensive or disturbing for even a younger teenager.
The runnig time is 125 minutes.
Julia Roberts is defiantly radiant as a single mum taking on big business (a role she can actually do well), while Albert Finney and In the Company of Men's Aaron Eckhart lend sterling support. But it's director Stephen Soderbergh who really shines, elevating a plot that shrieks TV-movie hell into something much, much more. The layout of the disc, meanwhile, is slick- excerpts play out behind cobalt-tinged menus, as the distinctive strains of the score introduce us to two engaging behind-the-scenes featurettes. The Making Of is particularly good, with plenty of interesting stuff from Soderbergh and his top-drawer cast, but the best extra is the deleted scenes, which lend enough material for an entirely new movie, with Steven Soderbergh's commentary providing a welcome insight into the workings of his idiosyncratic style.
INTRO Erin Brockovich is a film I fancied seeing from the first time I watched a trailer. I think Julia Roberts is great and have enjoyed many of her films, plus the plot for this one sounded very interesting. But somehow I never managed to see it – until this week, when – after borrowing my friend’s DVD – I finally watched it over two evenings. FILM The film is about a remarkable woman called Erin Brockovich. Based on a true story, it describes how this poor, struggling, single mom of three turns her life around by her strength, courage, feistiness and determination. She wangles her way into a job at the law firm owned by Ed Masry and while going through her general filing duties, she becomes intrigued as to why one particular case includes such things as medical reports amongst all the paperwork. She decides to investigate further. Driving over to Hinkley, she begins piecing together the clues. Could it really be that a large and powerful company have contaminated the water supply of this town, leading the people there to suffer a long list of illnesses, including cancer? Erin’s compassion for the Hinkley residents and her anger at the injustice of the situation lead her to relentlessly pursue the case – but at what cost? As she works increasingly long hours, she sees less and less of her children and her boyfriend and even receives a threatening phonecall. Will it all be worth it? Can she really achieve something against such a rich company? Or will she let the residents of Hinkley down, just as they have let her in to their hearts? CAST Julia Roberts is excellent as Erin. She is sassy, brassy but so admirable as the character that you will love her from the first scene. The other star here is Albert Finney as the lawyer Ed Masry. He is the perfect combination of charm, charisma, logic and practicality. He is a good lawyer, but not afraid to risk a little
bit, to see what happens. The cast as a whole does a great job though. While Roberts and Finney undoubtedly shine – and their scenes together are superb, showing real chemistry between them – the supporting actors do their parts perfectly too. Even the children in this film are just the right mixture, so they are cute but not too cute, sweet but not sickeningly so and are very realistically portrayed. DVD EXTRAS The extra features are animated menus, deleted scenes (with and without Director’s Commentary), filmographies, isolated score, ‘making of’ featurette, theatrical trailer and ‘The Real Erin Brockovich’ featurette. There are also interactive menus to select language, subtitles and scenes. FILMOGRAPHIES There are filmographies or ‘Talent Profiles’ of Julia Roberts, Albert Finney and Steven Soderbergh (the director). These consist of still photos alongside a brief biography and short filmography with lists of awards and Oscar nominations. This is fairly well done, but how often would you feel the need to use it? Not often, I believe. THEATRICAL TRAILER I found this worth watching, but I definitely suggest you watch it after you have seen the film. I would watch the trailer again, but it does give away far too many spoilers for the film, in my opinion. It was interesting seeing the differences between the trailer and the scenes used in the film, especially noticing the alterations in use of language! DELETED SCENES This was very interesting. I suggest you watch the scenes after the film, but directly before watching them with the director’s commentary. I found it fascinating to see new parts of the film, then to hear Soderbergh’s reasoning behind the scenes not making the final film. Soderbergh comes across as being such a ‘nice bloke’ and his passion for this film shone through and for the mov
ie industry in general. He seemed genuinely saddened by having to cut some of the footage, even if it just contained a particularly nice expression from Albert Finney or was an entertaining scene concentrating on lesser members of the cast. His reasons were all very valid ones – often due to the film being too long, but also because scenes slowed down that section of the film or they were not as essential as others. It was also interesting to note he cut a scene because of Erin’s character using too harsh a swear word. I was especially fascinated by the subplot that was almost totally removed and his reasons for this. Soderbergh kept stressing his need to stick closely to Erin’s real story and not use too much artistic licence on it, which I thought was admirable. FEATURETTES The ‘Making of’ featurette lasts about fifteen minutes and is well worth watching. As well as interviews with Julia Roberts, Albert Finney and Steven Soderbergh, it also includes interviews with the real Erin Brockovich (who plays a waitress in the film!) and Ed Masry. I found this fascinating listening to the real two main characters and hearing their version of events and how they felt about the film. I was left feeling the casting was perfect, that Albert Finney and Julia Roberts were uncannily accurate in their portrayals and the director had been very clever in getting the balance just right. The real Erin and Ed come across as lovely people too. Erin obviously continues to feel a deep emotional attachment to the case and the Hinkley residents. She seems exactly how Julia portrays her in the film – feisty, compassionate and with a steely resolve to fight for those who need assistance. In contrast, ‘The Real Erin Brockovich’ featurette was disappointing. It lasts less than five minutes and contains more interviews with the real Erin and Ed, but these are filmed in the same loca
tions as in the ‘Making of’ featurette and add very little new. It would seem sensible to have made this section a part of the ‘Making of’ featurette instead. FILM RATING The film is rated 15. The only reason for this is the language, but to be honest, if your child has heard the ‘f’ word before, they won’t be shocked watching this. I let my twelve year old watch it and she enjoyed it, although I would be surprised if anyone younger would be able to follow the plot, as it is fairly complicated. DVD DETAILS Subtitles in seventeen languages. Dubbed into German option. 1:1.85 Film runs for 126 minutes. Available from Amazon for £9.99, usually despatched in 24 hours. OVERALL The film is excellent – a good mixture of drama and comedy, with a very high standard of performances throughout. The DVD is worth buying, especially as you can purchase it for less than £10! The ‘making of’ featurette, the trailer, the deleted scenes and, of course, the film itself make this a ‘must have’ in your collection.
I went into this movie expecting to see a light-hearted comedy with Julia Roberts. What I did not anticipate, was that the movie would actually have a compelling dramatic story and be shaded more towards something serious than a comedy. More than anything I was bowled over by the strong characters, top-notch performances, bold cinematography, capable editing, and expert direction that all come together to form the grand fairytale that is "Erin Brockovich." The movie opens with Erin (Roberts) interviewing for a job, during which she says all the wrong things. The scene then continues outside where she smokes a cigarette, finds that she's gotten a parking ticket, breaks a nail, and then proceeds to get into an auto accident as she's leaving the ill-fated interview. Clearly things are not going Erin's way. This auto accident leads Ms. Brockovich to the law office of Ed Mabry (Finney), who unsuccessfully represents her. The chemistry between these two actors is nothing less than amazing, and is successfully carried off through the entire film. After Mabry fails to win her a court verdict, the down on her luck Brockovich weasels her way into his office and demands a job, seeing as how she's twice divorced, has three kids to support (one a nine month old), 17k in medical bills, and no prospects. Sensing both her pluck and her dilemma, and being stung by Erin's foul mouth and contrary nature, Mabry reluctantly hires her to clerk in his busy and poorly run office. Then, one day, after Erin has settled in at the law office, she comes across a curious case in Mabry's files. Despite her lack of education or legal expertise, she realizes something is going on, something big, with this file that she's found. Turns out Pacific Gas & Electric has inadvertently poisoned hundreds of people near one of their plants for upwards of 25 years, and this story that she's stumbled across has a deep effect
on both Erin's personal and professional life. Because she gets so absorbed in the Pacific Gas & Electric case, she stops coming into work and gets canned. However, because her footwork was so good, news of what she was working on gets back to Attorney Mabry, who takes a sudden interest in what she's uncovered, and he hires her back after they both do a little verbal jousting. I won't go much further into the legal story that "Erin Brockovich" is really about, because I don't want to spoil the outcome of the film. There are two other major story threads in Erin Brockovich, one about Erin as a mother of three children that she desperately loves but is forced by her job to neglect on occasion, and the other about a biker-neighbor love interest (Aaron Eckhart). Both of these story threads are juggled deftly with both the legal story and the unflinchingly raw character portrait of Erin Brockovich. Look for this key scene: Erin, driving alone at night on her way home from work places a phonecall home. It's a simple shot, but follow the dialogue and watch the emotions play across her face, and you will agree with me when you see it that this is definitely the role that Julia deserved to win an Oscar for. Not only is the Whistleblower vs. Corporation (think Silkwood, think Norma Rae) storyline of "E.B." a winner, but this movie LOOKS great too. The cinematography is by Ed Lachman, who also collaborated with Director Soderbergh on last years "The Limey." This film, in my humble opinion, is S.S.'s best film since "Sex, Lies & Videotape." Not to take anything away from "Out of Sight", which is an excellent genre pic, but the performances here in "Erin Brockovich" are clearly far and above what each of the actors might have normally elicited, and the only thing that can account for that is having had Mr. Soderbergh at the helm. All parts of this mov
ie work in synch with each other, from the cinematography to the actors to the story. The score for this film stands out as well, it is both subtle and evocative, and I plan to run out and purchase it immediately. It is great having watched this director progress from groundbreaking "Sex, Lies..", to the under appreciated "King of the Hill", to his personal failure "Schizopolis" and back to success again. I'd have to say that his full-out success with "E.B." has me extremely interested in the Harrison Ford/Catherine Zeta-Jones flick that he already has in the can and that's due to be released next year. To sum up, "Erin Brockovich" is the cream of the crop. Finney and Roberts exude major star power and the film is literally chock full with a half dozen high-caliber character actors. Don't forget to look for the real Erin Brockovich in this film, she has a brief cameo as a waitress in a restaurant. While this is a truly powerful drama, there are at least 15-25 great catchphrase lines and about 8 uncontrollable "laugh out loud" moments during the film. If you enjoyed "Norma Rae" or "Silkwood", or any other movie where the protagonist is fighting for a cause for that matter, then you'll definitely fall in love with "Erin Brockovich."
‘Not a film based on a true story’ moaned my husband when I wanted to watch this. ‘You know I don’t like them.’ Just over 2 hours later he turned to me and said ‘what a great film’. Men huh! I had heard such good reviews about the film that I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. Then it was nominated for loads of Oscars – well I don’t very often like the films that win Oscars. But I still wanted to watch it as I vaguely knew the true story that it was based on. And I wasn’t disappointed. The film is based on the life of the real Erin Brockovich (who also has a cameo appearance in the film as a waitress). Twice married and divorced, she was left to raise her three children on her own. Following a traffic accident (which wasn’t her fault) she meets Ed Masry, a lawyer. She loses her case – and her chance of any money – so pesters Ed until he gives her a job at his law practice. While looking at some files for a real estate case, she discovers some medical notes and decides to investigate further. It appears that a local plant of a major company has been leaking dangerous chemicals into the water supply. Lots of local residents have developed cancer and livestock is dying. After several run-ins with Ed, he agrees to take on the case. Talking to other families it becomes obvious that the situation is far more serious than anyone thought. And so begins the battle between Ed and Erin and the corporate giant. Along the way there is also a love story thrown in – George is Erin’s neighbour. A big-hearted biker, he starts out looking after Erin’s children while she works but the relationship soon develops further. However, Erin’s single-minded determination threatens to ruin their happiness… This is a film about hope coming from despair and about the ‘ordinary’ people over
coming the corporate giants. For the people of Hinkley (the town with the water problem) Erin offers hope that there may be some good to come from their desperate illnesses and what appears to them to be a bleak future. She also helps them to understand that what has happened to them is not their fault. The compassion that she shows to the townspeople is overwhelming – once she decides to help she throws herself in completely, even to the detriment of her own family. Something that was omitted from the film was the fact that Erin was dyslexic – although she refers to herself in the film as a ‘slow reader’ – another hurdle that she had to overcome on the way to her achievements. As well as Erin sacrificing her home life, Ed puts his reputation on the line, along with his firm and his house. He risks losing everything by taking on this case, but Erin’s conviction overcomes his fears. Julia Roberts plays Erin with complete conviction. She is perfect as the woman who has overcome her own family difficulties and wants to build a better future for her children, and whose compassion for others keeps her going through the difficult times. For me, this was the best role I have seen her in and she thoroughly deserved the Oscar that she won. Albert Finney provides the perfect foil as Ed. His gruff exterior hides a softness underneath and although he does not appear to like Erin at the beginning, you gradually see him warming to her throughout the film. As the film goes on, you can see that he respects her for continuing to fight for the people of Hinkley. As the love interest, George, Aaron Eckhart plays an understated role. As the biker-with-a-heart he tries to help Erin out even when he is getting nothing in return. Although everyone talks about how great Roberts and Finney were, for me he was just as good and deserved more recognition for his role. Despite being a drama, this film does have s
ome light-hearted moments. For me, these were a necessary part of the film otherwise it could have generated into doom and gloom. One of my favourites being when on eof the corporate lawyers is about to take a sip of water (after saying that Hinkley water was safe) and Erin tells her ‘we had that shipped in especially from Hinkley for you’. The look on the lawyer’s face and the stifled laughs of Erin’s colleagues was brilliant! The real-life drama was played over 2 ½ years, but for the film it has been condensed into just over 2 hours. Presumably unimportant events have been missed out, but the film still flows well and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. However, having read further information on the real story, it appears that Erin herself was almost hospitalised due to the chemicals in the water. Although she is shown coughing and ill in the film, not too much is made of it. I am quite glad that the film was not seen as an opportunity to turn her into some sort of martyr, but instead shows her as a compassionate woman, fighting for her beliefs. I do have one criticism of the film, however. Being a fan of legal dramas, I was disappointed by the lack of courtroom action. Aside from the first court case (for Erin’s accident) there is only one other courtroom scene. Personally I would have liked to have seen more of the legal action rather than Ms Roberts cleavage, but I think I know which may have enticed more people to watch the film! The film was directed by Steven Soderbergh (also nominated for an Oscar, but missed out). I would highly recommend this film. Well worth renting on a miserable winters evening.
A lone woman, armed only with indomitable sass and her native wit, goes up against the corporate big boys and beats the bejesus out of them. As a story line it's hardly new, but Steven Soderbergh's film keeps it exhilaratingly fresh and lively--thanks not least to his lead actress. Seizing the role of the smart, mouthy, aggressively working-class Erin Brockovich with both hands, Julia Roberts gives it everything she's got and then some. She's well matched by Albert Finney as her grouchy but good-hearted boss and Aaron Eckhart as a sympathetic biker. The story's based--by all accounts fairly closely--on actual events, when the real Erin (who appears briefly in the film as a kindly waitress) brought a massive lawsuit against utilities giant Pacific Gas and Electric for spreading toxic pollution. Rather than confine the action to courtroom shenanigans, Soderbergh takes us out under Southern California's pitiless skies and along the dirt-poor roads where most of PG&E's blue-collar victims live, letting us feel the ground-down exhaustion of their lives. But though it's rooted in reality, the film's anything but solemn. The script's sharp and funny, full of unexpected twists; and Roberts, flaunting herself outrageously in an eye-popping array of push-up bras and micro-miniskirts, has never been better. --Philip Kemp