Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Erin Brockovich; drama, USA, 2000; D: Steven Soderbergh, S: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart, Marg Helgenberger, Tracey Walter, Peter Coyote, Cherry Jones, Erin Brockovich-Ellis
Erin Brockovich has two wrecked marriages behind her, is unemployed and has to alone take care of her under aged son and two daughters. When she gets injured in a car accident, she hires lawyer Ed Masrey to represent her at trial, but loses. Still, she persuades him to hire her. Erin starts investigating polluted drinking water in a small town that has too much poisonous Hexavalent chromium and thus sues the company responsible for it, "PG & E". At the trial, the company loses the case and has to pay 333 million $ to the sick inhabitants.
Hugely popular back in it's time, drama "Erin Brockovich" based on real events is today a rather forgotten achievement that didn't leave a bigger impression in the history of cinema. Still, it's a matter of a sympathetic and neat little film that is accessible in analysing the dark consequences of the powerful corporations and small people fighting against them. The first half is the best since it describes the tough, strong independent woman Erin (surprisingly solid Julia Roberts who didn't giggle with mannerisms all the time): she swears, constantly wears mini skirts, is a single mother and when her neighbor George asks her for her phone number she replies to him in this way: "You want my number? Let's start with 10. That's how many months my daughter has. 8 and 6 is how old my son and my other daughter are. 2 is the number of my failed marriages. And 0 is the number of how many times you are going to call me!" The performance by Roberts works, but is too idealistic, unrealistic and schematic at times (a heroine "larger than life" who is always right and speaks epic phrases), yet she does have several great, delicious scenes. The second half of the film is visibly weaker and manipulative, but one cannot stay immune to the idealism of these characters.