Plot – 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 – Erin Brockovich.
Director – Steven Soderbergh
Released – 2000
The only thing bigger than Julia Roberts’ personality in Erin Brockovich is the film’s heart. After all, this film is absolutely bursting at the seams with it. The film is all about fighting for what you believe in, your worth and overcoming the odds and every setback to do what’s right. Sounds cheesy? well in places it can be, but handled with such charm and conviction that you’re soon rooting for the good guys.
It’s not really a surprise that Roberts won the Oscar for best actress winner after this performance. We have seen her talent at playing a tough-talking but driven woman with a heart of gold many times before, including in her arguably most famous role as Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman.
However, here she takes it up a notch, swinging between moods effortlessly and taking no nonsense from anyone, be it her family, coworkers or the opposing side, none of which makes her any less likeable. Wonderfully counterbalanced Edward L. Masry. A much more calm and reserved character played excellently by Albert Finney.
Brockovich’s struggle to balance her family with her increasing workload feels authentic and something most viewers should be able to connect with, but what surprises me is that for a film based on real-life, Susannah Grant’s screenplay is almost entirely devoid of the melodrama seen in similar productions.
Director Steven Soderbergh knew all too clearly how to keep this film from becoming just another cheesy David vs. Goliath, produced to make you feel better, but rather, a hard-hitting film that highlights the issues with corporate America and the corruption that goes along with it. Not that it won’t leave you with a smile, because it absolutely will.
Overall, Erin Brockovich is a powerful piece of drama based on a true story, that’s not only uplifting and filled with emotion, but just as relevant now as it was 20 years ago. Made all the better by the skilled direction of Steven Soderbergh and perfect performances of Julia Roberts and Albert Finney.
If you liked: Dark Waters, A Time To Kill, Philadelphia