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,
A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself".
After she discovers that her boyfriend has betrayed her, Hilary O'Neil is looking for a new start and a new job. She begins to work as a private nurse for a young man suffering from blood ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
At the picnic there is a can of Diet Coke that has the 1997 style, rather than the 1986 design used in the early 1990s. See more »
Ya know why everyone thinks that all lawyers are back stabbing, blood sucking scum bags? cause they are! And I can not believe you expect me to go out, leave my kids with strangers and get people to trust you with *their* lives while all the while your screwing me! You know, Ed, it's not about the number! It's about the way my work is valued in this firm, it's the...
[She looks at the two million dollar bonus check]
Like I was saying, I thought that the number you proposed was ...
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This movie was Re-Recorded in a Swelltone Theatre. See more »
Erin Brockovich is a modern-day David vs. Goliath story with a few notable exceptions. The villainous behemoth in this version is a faceless corporate conglomerate. The hero is a sassy, brassy, less-than-classy female with a prominently featured chassis. In the basic elements of the story line, this is a story we have heard before. The crusader vs. the corporation is a dominant theme in The China Syndrome, A Civil Action, and this year's Oscar nominee The Insider. The version where the "good guy" is a female working-class hero is the basic theme of Norma Rae and Silkwood. Like these latter films, Erin Brockovich is based on a real character and a real-life incident.
Erin Brockovich is a twice-divorced mother with kids who finagles her way into a job working for the lawyer who lost her case in a civil trial. Erin is feisty, determined, independent, and mouthy. These very traits that get her into trouble with co-workers, friends, and family members are the traits that prove to be her greatest assets as a secretary turned paralegal. What makes the character sympathetic is her caring. She does not always show it well, but beneath the tough exterior is a woman with a heart of gold who cares deeply about her kids and is passionately committed to the families affected by corporate neglect.
Julia Roberts is well-suited for the "brassy broad with a heart-of-gold" role. Consider her past performances in Pretty Woman (hooker with a heart of gold), Notting Hill (superstar with a heart of gold), and My Best Friend's Wedding (scheming, conniving, two-faced backstabber with a heart of gold). How could she miss?
What distinguishes this film from films like Norma Rae or Silkwood however, is the witty script by screenwriter Susannah Grant. Grant was the screenwriter for Pocahantas, Ever After, and 28 Days. What these films have in common is strong-willed independent female characters. Here the synthesis of Brockovich's character, Grant's writing, and Julia Roberts' persona all work together like a charm. The best way to turn an old formula into a good film is through distinctive characters. The characters and their relationships are the real heart of this film.
As a result, the film is much lighter in tone than Norma Rae or Silkwood. There are moments of high drama, but the film really shines in its humor and wit. Albert Finney is delightful as Ed Masry, Erin's boss. Julia Roberts turns in what may prove to be the best performance of her career as a working-class mom who refuses to stay down for the count. Director Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, The Limey) handles the material well and the pacing of the film is nearly perfect.
Corporate neglect will become an increasingly important topic as evidenced by events in Seattle last year. By some estimates, there may be as many as 100,000 deaths per year (four times the homicide rate) as a result of "corporate crime." Erin Brockovich manages to raise the issue in a context that is neither preachy nor smug. But in the end this is not an issue film, but a character study, and what a character she is! Both thumbs up for Erin Brockovich.
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