- Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich
- Albert Finney as Ed Masry
- Aaron Eckhart as George
- Marg Helgenberger as Donna Jensen
Based on a true story, Erin Brockovich is a warm and uplifting crowd pleaser that doesn’t feel mawkish for a second. Bolstered by the Oscar-winning performance of Julia Roberts and competently directed by Steven Soderbergh, Erin Brockovich makes for emotionally involving and compulsive viewing of the underdog taking on the hierarchy of corruption.
Erin Brockovich is an unemployed single mother of three young children, who has recently been injured in a road accident. Her lawyer, the wise Ed Masry, hopes to win the case in suing the doctor who caused the crash. Erin’s brassy behaviour and use of profane language does little to endear her to the court and she loses the case. At the end of her tether struggling to provide for her family, she talks her way into a job at Ed’s law firm. An unconventional presence among straight-laced staff, Erin’s take no prisoners attitude and revealing wardrobe constantly test Ed’s patience. Whilst looking through the real-estate files of Pacific Gas and Electric who are planning to purchase the house of a woman in Hinkley, California she finds medical records and blood samples. Curious, she checks out the intriguing oddity. Speaking to Donna, the woman whose file she found it in, she discovers the unusual correspondence between the company and the family’s in the area. Plus, many of the residents in the area have become sick with various and dangerous medical conditions. Continuing to dig up details in the complicated but little-known case, Erin unearths a cover up as the company has been poisoning the water supply within the area. Erin pursues the case, revealing the warmth behind her streetwise exterior, and begins to form a case against Pacific Gas and Electric in order to help the community. Prepare for a funny, dramatic and moving take on the David and Goliath story as the excellent direction of Steven Soderbergh,a witty yet insightful script and strong performances from Roberts and Finney add to the overall charm and emotionally drive of Erin Brockovich.
The screenplay for this movie manages to balance humour and pathos in equal measure, and although you may guess the outcome, still keeps you wondering whether Erin’s case will win. It also manages to flesh out the interesting investigation of the cover-up and how Erin’s good heart and brash demeanor aid her in her quest for justice. Steven Soderbergh’s direction gives the piece a naturalness that allows the actors to embody their roles effectively whilst also giving us a touching story of an unconventional woman using her smarts and big heart to help others. The cinematography captures a hazy glow of California as Erin works her way towards answers. The actors in the cast are all convincing in their roles. Julia Roberts delivers a strong, Oscar-winning performance as the eponymous Erin. Roberts embodies the tough, brassy attitude, foul mouth, heart of gold and a deep empathy to give us a woman who will stop at nothing when it comes to the case. It really is a joy to watch this tenacious character prove her intelligence and strength in the face of corporate big wigs trying to avoid a lawsuit. She is ably supported by Albert Finney as Ed, who is initially unsure about Erin but comes to see the intelligence and caring side that have long been underestimated in Erin. Finney has an excellent camaraderie with Roberts, as we watch two stark opposites learn to respect one another. Aaron Eckhart manages to create an interesting character in the role of George, a biker who takes a shine to Erin but begins to worry when the case begins to overtake her. Marg Helgenberger shines in a touching role as a woman who has suffered with illness because of the cover-up.
Emotionally rich, involving and well-performed, Erin Brockovich provides laughs, cries and above all praise.