A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.
Benicio Del Toro,
Erin Brockovich-Ellis is an unemployed single mother, desperate to find a job, but is having no luck. This losing streak even extends to a failed lawsuit against a doctor in a car accident she was in. With no alternative, she successfully browbeats her lawyer to give her a job in compensation for the loss. While no one takes her seriously, with her trashy clothes and earthy manners, that soon changes when she begins to investigate a suspicious real estate case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. What she discovers is that the company is trying quietly to buy land that was contaminated by hexavalent chromium, a deadly toxic waste that the company is improperly and illegally dumping and, in turn, poisoning the residents in the area. As she digs deeper, Erin finds herself leading point in a series of events that would involve her law firm in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history against a multi-billion dollar corporation.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After Erin comes up from the PG&E well with the water sample, she is chased to her car by two PG&E employees. She gets in and frantically tries to make her getaway. Apparently the car doesn't start the first time and she tries again. However, when the starter is heard cranking the second time, Erin's hand is already off the ignition switch and moving to the gearshift. See more »
Erin and Ed have seven other cases pending, including one against PG&E regarding a plant in Kettleman Hills, CA. See more »
In the TV version aired on NBC, it mutes the several uses of the f-word [usually changing it from f*cking to freaking, or sometimes even cutting out the line[s] of dialogue]. It also, to supposedly make up for lost time during editing, adds a scene not shown on the theatrical or home video version of the film [although it was added as a deleted scene in the DVD]: Erin goes out to her car after storming into the office and shouting at Ed. She feels still feels very sick and then faints. It lands her in the hospital where George comes to visit [explaining why George would come and take care of Erin's kids while she went to get the signatures]. Ed also comes to visit and pleads her to not make stunts like she did again. Erin apologizes and says she's coming to the town meeting, sick or not. See more »
Julia Roberts is Fiercely Dynamic in the Smart and Savvy Erin Brockovich!
Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich opens with a car accident. The vehicle driven by Erin, an unemployed, twice-divorced mother of three, is broadsided by a speeding car at an intersection. She takes her case to a rumpled, cowed lawyer Ed Masry, who agrees to represent her on a contingency basis. However, in court, Erin's surly manner and blasphemous vocabulary do not endear her to the jury, which finds itself in the defendant's favor, as Erin goes home empty-handed. Still without work and needing to pay her bills, Erin, who has no demonstrable skills, but a passion, an uncommon quantity of common sense, and a defiant way of talking, finagles her way into a position as a file clerk under her former attorney.
It is in this capacity that she uncovers, entirely by accident, a paper trail leading to the town of Hinkley, CA, where an endless stream of residents have been diagnosed with various medical conditions including cancer, disintegrating spinal cords and brain damage. It turns out that the community of Hinkley has been poisoned by hexavalent chromium, leaching into the drinking water from the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) plant. The case is especially odious because PG&E knew exactly what it was doing but lied about what kind of chromium it was using. Erin gains the trust of the community to mount legal action and strong-arms Ed to put together a case that would win the largest direct claim settlement in American history, even as her personal life is threatened by her devotion to the case.
Steven Soderbergh tests Erin's limits of likability numerous times throughout the movie. An early scene is designed to show what a short fuse Erin has when she explodes in a torrent of profanity in the courtroom. Erin, the film makes clear early on, is no sentimental crusader. Rather, she is a tough, hard-nosed cookie who dresses like a hoochie and who would use anything from here heavily coiffured hair to her cleavage or also her baby to get what she needs. In short, Erin is adrift in a hard world. But what makes this potentially despicable character so affable is Julia Roberts' vulnerable and fiercely dynamic performance. As the eponymous character, she is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the film. As a foil for Erin, Albert Finney draws out a complex, engaging performance that is as warm as it is funny. Their scenes together crackle with chemistry and it's a joy to see this kind of male/female interaction where there is absolutely no hint of sexual attraction.
Soderbergh infuses the proceedings with a vibrant, almost peppy sense of style that would not have been half as compelling had a less edgy director helmed it. It would have been easy for him to have allowed Erin Brockovich to descend into manipulative melodrama, but he resists that path of least resistance, instead giving us a film that is smart, savvy, funny, and, at times, poignant.
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