Volume 93, Issue 90
Monday, March 21, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Julia lays down the law in Erin Brockovich
©Photo by Bob Marshak
MY NEXT LAWSUIT IS AGAINST THE WOMAN WHO SOLD ME THIS VEST. The talented Julia Roberts lets it all hang out in Erin Brokovich.
By Tara Dermastja
Simply put, Erin Brockovich is an excellent film, destined to hit audience members in the heart. With Julia Roberts starring as the title character, it shouldn't encounter any obstacles in its climb up the box office ladder.
The movie, which is based on the story of real-life heroine Brockovich, touches on everything from her excessive cleavage to her outstanding courage and it succeeds marvelously in telling her story.
Susannah Grant's screeenplay is detailed and accurate, focusing more on Brockovich's personality rather than boring and drawn-out courtroom speeches. That's one of the nice things about this film although it has largely to do with Brockovich's crusade for justice, the legal mumbo-jumbo is kept to a minimum, allowing audiences to focus on character development.
The twice-divorced single mother of three first appears to the audience after being rejected from a job. A few minutes after the discouraging interview, a speeding Jaguar slams into her car, totalling it.
Due in part to her explosive language in the courtroom, Brockovich fails to receive settlement for the accident. In a moment of desperation and with approximately $70 in the bank, Brockovich subsequently convinces her lawyer to give her a job. In this new position, she stumbles onto a confusing paper trail and after investigating it, discovers a corporation has contaminated the water of a small community.
The rest of the story centres on her courageous journey to win the trust of the 600 town residents and the help of her boss.
Roberts' presence transforms this movie from a well-written gem to a must-see Hollywood winner. In a role which has her wearing more see-through blouses and flashy make-up than all her other movie parts combined, Roberts is able to convey Brockovich's tremendous ambition.
Joining Roberts in the film are Albert Finney as her easily manipulated lawyer/boss Ed Masry and Aaron Eckhart, as George, a big-hearted biker who babysits Brockovich's kids so she is able to work.
Four-time Oscar nominee Finney is adorable in the role, always succumbing to Brockovich's demands with the solemn look of a soon-to-retire attorney and the broken will of a little boy. Eckhart is also enjoyable, winning viewers' hearts with his rugged looks and babysitting talents.
Other performances include Marg Helgenberger (China Beach) as one of the key residents in the lawsuit, Cherry Jones (The Cradle Will Rock) as a reluctant plaintiff and Peter Coyote (Random Hearts) as Kurt Potter, a hotshot lawyer who aids Brockovich and Masry in their multimillion dollar claim. Keep an eye out for the true-to-life Brockovich herself, who turns in a short role as a waitress in the flick.
It is Brockovich's charisma shining through Roberts' eyes which makes this movie so attractive. To see such an incredible story brought to the big screen without losing its real meaning shows the great lengths producer Danny DeVito went to, to preserve as much of the truth as possible.
Everyone should see Erin Brockovich, if not for the remarkable movie that it is, then for the chance to see how one woman helped an entire town and brought a corporation to shame.
It's guaranteed to inspire the creation of another heroine or two.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000