Julia Roberts will knock your socks off with her portrayal of real life Erin Brockovich, an ‘ordinary’ woman with extraordinary grit and determination.
In her younger days as a beauty queen, Miss Wichita to be exact, Erin Brockovich’s mission was to feed the homeless and bring world peace. But things just didn’t work out that way. Instead, she celebrated supermarket openings, got married twice, divorced twice, had three children, and lost a number of jobs. Little greatness in that.
So what’s so special about Erin Brockovich? Erin’s the woman who single-handedly brought a good measure of peace to the people of the small desert town of Hinkley, California. For it was there that Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) was poisoning the groundwater with a deadly form of chromium. Hooray for Erin Brockovich.
For without her they couldn’t have written a more perfect movie. This has everything: drama, tragedy, and despite a storyline filled with tales of horrible cancers and diseases, an incredible amount of humor thanks to Brockovich’s character herself, Julia’s portrayal of her and the charms and expertise of co-star Albert Finney as her new boss, a lawyer named Ed Masry.
Erin’s a luscious babe who wears revealing clothing and ultra high heels. She has an unholy terror of a mouth; if she doesn’t like you, you’ll know it. After unusual circumstances, Erin lands a job as a clerk in Ed Masry’s law office in Los Angeles. She has no real experience but she does have a keen wit and super determination. Erin comes across a pro bono case that Ed has previously been working on. And that sets the story in motion where one curious sympathetic woman who’s just a clerk, takes it upon herself to “investigate” the matter further before she simply files it away.
She becomes Hinkley’s best friend and PG&E’s worst enemy. This is a woman who knows how to relate to the common folk, is one of them, in fact (‘babe’ notwithstanding). She’s got the right ‘people skills’ when she needs them most but she’s just as adept at telling the suits to shove it. They don’t ignore Erin Brockovich for long.
Erin’s got enough facets to her character to give Julia this wonderfully meaty role where her effervescent nature is used to its best advantage. She’s got flair, she’s got our sympathy playing the underdog and she’s got marvelous empathy with the Hinkley townspeople. Julia Roberts shows us what she’s made of – herself and Erin. It’s a super performance. Albert Finney as Masry gives us a finely nuanced performance too – straight man to Julia’s loud-mouthed Erin most of the time, but right on, never too much said. His pained expressions, his wrinkled eyebrows – they’re just perfect.
Great care was taken in the telling of this true story and it shows. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Hats off to him and writer Susannah Grant.
Lotta says: Y:ou’ll howl at the wickedly funny and spicy dialogue. This is the first great picture of the year!