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|June 2, 2000||
I hate writing reviews for films like this one. Why? Because it's really hard to find fault with them. And I don't get an opportunity to be vindictive, which is something I enjoy doing, especially if the film proves to be a waste of time and an insult to my intelligence.
Unfortunately, Erin Brockovich is so engrossing and entertaining that I simply can't complain.
The movie, based on the true life story of Erin Brockovich, tells of a woman whose passion to seek the truth, determination to fight evil and warmth changed the lives of the residents of an entire township.
Julia Roberts plays the sassy, saucy, stiletto-heeled, sexy Erin -- a former beauty queen, twice-divorced mother of three, who goes from being a nobody to national heroine.
At the beginning, nothing seems to be going right for our pretty protagonist. Erin can't find herself a job to provide for the kids. And while she's out scouting for employment, she meets with an accident (no fault of hers though!). She has to undergo surgery and is left in dire financial straits.
To make matters worse, attorney Ed Masry (four-time Oscar nominee Albert Finney) is unable to obtain any compensation for Erin. With no hope on the horizon and with no one else to turn to, she convinces Ed to hire her.
However, her sense of style and brazen attitude are not looked upon too kindly by the staff. While working at the firm, Erin stumbles upon medical records in a pro bono case file dealing with real estate. Finding something amiss, curious Erin who can't figure out the connection decides to pursue the matter herself.
Entrusting the kids to newly moved in next-door neighbour turned nanny -- Harley freak and love interest George (Aaron Eckhart), Erin embarks on her quest.
The trail leads her to Hinkley, a tiny Californian desert town. Here, she uncovers a 28 billion-dollar scam by PG&E, a huge multinational. Which lies to the townsfolk to conceal its involvement in the contamination of the community's water supply, responsible for the mysterious yet deadly illnesses of the inhabitants.
Erin, excited with finally finding a purpose in life, turns sleuth. Using her sharp, street-smart intelligence and god-gifted sex appeal, she manages to get to the bottom of things. Her tenacity and perseverance turns foes to friends who assist her in acquiring the evidence needed to nail PG& E.
You must watch this film for a number of reasons.
The first on my list, would be Julia. Her portrayal as the foul-mouthed, obnoxious, trail-blazing, single mother who wants to do it right for the kids, who forsakes everything -- love, family life and safety for a cause is funny yet touching.
A far cry from her cliched 'I'm so lost and lonely coz my boyfriend dumped me' kind of roles. And in my opinion no one can fit into those bosom-hugging tank tops and figure-clinging minis like Julia can.
Julia's talented act is definitely her career's best. Pretty Woman and Mystic Pizza lag far behind. The performances by the other cast members are exceptional too. Each one of them slips into the characters, be it a secretary, a cancer-stricken little girl or a waitress (the real Erin, in a cameo role) with ease. This is what makes the film so life like.
Kudos to Susannah Grant (scriptwriter) who has a fine job of sifting through the original story and incorporating all the exciting parts to deliver a fast-paced crisp story. The dialogue is witty and unusually humorous under serious circumstances.
Director Steven Soderbergh commands a tight ship, no loopholes or obvious glitches here. He makes clever use of lighting, filming and editing techniques, and a jaunty background score by Thomas Newman to give the movie a sepia feel and a sense of realism. His trademark style is very apparent, as it was in his first film Sex, Lies and Videotape.
I'd expected to see the hackneyed melodramatic courtroom scenes, mercifully, my expectations didn't materialise. My only grouse is that Erin's investigation seemed to be much too contrived.
Watch this film and pay close attention. Even though there aren't any extraordinary special effects or breathtakingly picturesque cinematography, the superb script and stellar performances will draw you into Erin's world.
This riveting entertainer, which grossed over $100 million in the US, will definitely keep you on the edge of your seats, glued to the screen. Don't you dare miss it!
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