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Erin Brockovich

Threat advisory: Severe - Severe risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

She brought a small town to its feet and a huge company to its knees.

With no money, no job and no prospects on the horizon, Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) is a woman in a tight spot. Following a car accident in which Erin is not at fault, she finds herself even worse off when her attorney fails to land her any kind of settlement. With nowhere else to turn, Erin pleads with her attorney Ed Masry (Albert Finney) to hire her at his law firm. It is there, while working, that Erin stumbles upon some medical records placed in real estate files. Confused, she begins to question the connection. She convinces Ed to allow her to investigate, where she discovers a cover-up involving contaminated water in a local community which is causing devastating illnesses among its residents.

Although the local citizens are initially leery of becoming involved, Erin's persistence and the personal interest she takes in their lives makes them listen. A kindred spirit, Erin is one of them, and her ability to connect with them on their level makes them comfortable, ultimately earning their trust.

Helping her out is her next-door neighbour George (Aaron Eckhart), a Harley Davidson biker whose friendship and support allows her the time to pursue the case. Going door to door, she signs up over 600 plaintiffs, and Erin and Ed, with the help of a major law firm, go on to receive the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in USA history: $333 million. By triumphing over insurmountable odds, she is able to prove herself and reinvent her life.

Based on a true story.

Persons of interest

  • Julia Roberts .... Erin Brockovich
  • David Brisbin .... Dr Jaffe
  • Dawn Didawick .... Rosalind
  • Albert Finney .... Ed Masry
  • Valente Rodriguez .... Donald
  • Conchata Ferrell .... Brenda
  • Irene Olga López .... Mrs Morales
  • Emily Marks .... Beth Brockovich - 8 Months
  • Julie Marks .... Beth Brockovich - 8 Months
  • Scotty Leavenworth .... Matthew Brockovich
  • Gemmenne de la Peña .... Katie Brockovich
  • Erin Brockovich-Ellis .... Julia
  • Adilah Barnes .... Anna
  • Aaron Eckhart .... George
  • Susannah Grant .... Screenwriter
  • Stephen Soderbergh .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

White trash, big tits and lawyers. Scary combination.

The white trash is everywhere, courtesy of Julia Roberts, Aaron Eckhart (hot, hunky hog rider) and the entire citizenry of Hinkley. The big tits come courtesy of Julia, Wonder Bra and some great camera angles. The lawyers crawl out from under damp rocks and rotting detritus, as they do.

The evil that is PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electricity, I believe) comes via capitalism and the free market. Try avoiding that!

The story is well structured to cover the months and months that legal things take. Even though Erin Brockovich is a long film (for Hollywood) there is no moment when you wish it would hurry up and end. In other words, the pace is perfect. Something new is always popping up just when the film needs it - a new clue, a new drama, a new domestic - and that keeps things chooffing along nicely. With regards of the technical aspect this is a well made film: good lighting, good mise en scène, good costuming and great characterisation. Every person is a real human being; even the extras are more than just warm props wandering about the set eating all the chocolate biscuits.

As for the actors, well, Julia does the best acting I have ever seen her do. She's trashy, loud, brazen, pushy, sexy and tired (being a single mother is no picnic). She's in every scene but her energy and her understanding of the character never wavers. You can see the same inner strength in the real Erin, who plays the waitress at the diner. This is not a woman over whose eyes wool can be pulled and she knows that the way to a man's brain is not through his stomach. Speaking of men, Aaron is a sexy, lusty, loving bloke who easily captures Erin's and the audience's hearts. He's a bona fide real man who is so strong that he doesn't have to prove it. Whether he's staying at home fixing the bike or staying at home looking after the kids, he's 100% testosterone. Damned fine breeding stock and a hell of a good actor, too.

Albert doesn't even seem to be acting: he walks around the set like it was real, talking to people as if they are real. That's one of the biggest secrets of acting, being able to believe in your character and their situation, and it's where the actor's ego most gets in the way. I have never been a proponent of the "Lose yourself in your character" method but you have to immerse yourself completely to be even half-way believable. Likewise, the sick and dying Hinkleyites (and there are lots of them) never ask for your compassion but you will give it anyway because they are too real to be ignored.

Wow, this is long. Better wrap it up or you'll be expecting reviews of this length all the time.

Erin Brockovich is a remarkable woman, an amazing human being and a damned fine film. Some parts are so funny you will wet yourself, others so poignant your heart will break. See it on the big screen so you can enjoy it all over again when the video comes out.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Aspect ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
  • Captions: English
  • Languages: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 surround), French (Dolby Surround)
  • Special features:
    • Featurette
    • Deleted scenes
    • Production notes
    • Biographies
    • Trailer
    • Web link

Security censorship classification

M (Medium level coarse language, adult themes)

Surveillance time

126 minutes (2:06 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS retail: 7 May 2001

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