Erin Brockovich (2000)
March 15, 2020 10:03 AM - Subscribe

A twice-divorced mother of three who sees an injustice, takes on the bad guy and wins. Erin goes to work for an attorney and comes across medical records describing illnesses clustered in one nearby town. She starts investigating and soon exposes a monumental cover-up.
posted by growabrain (5 comments total)
 
This is a movie I only caught later on cable. I remember thinking the movie was receiving a lot of hype that year. Julia wasn't my cup of tea at that point and I was not in a position to do a lot of movie watching.

One day the stars aligned, it was on TV and I was channel surfing.

The story is great. Scrappy down on her luck woman vs. big polluter! Go go go! Julia nails that part. Albert Finney as the lawyer is great.

The parts that didn't work for me are the ones with Aaron Eckhart as George and Erin's kids. Maybe Erin in real life really was driven to the point her personal relationships suffered, but I always feel like that's a cliche that is overused by Hollywood, even if it's true.

Was Julia the Best Actress that year? Yes.
posted by Fukiyama at 10:37 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Cool, this is on Starz (also DirectTV) which I think is free with my cable (just checked the app: it's on StarzEncore until 4/30). I've been trying to remember to rewatch this for yonks because I'm 10000% more into Layperson Legal than I was 15-20 years ago.

Regardless, praise be to the Soderbergh.
posted by rhizome at 3:15 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


OK, so this coming out in 2000 really feels late! I could have just as soon swore this came out in 1992 or thereabouts. Sheryl Crow at the credits really puts the eyebrows on the proceedings.

You really do have to give Roberts props here. Toward the beginning I was really doubting I'd be able to suspend my disbelief, that she's too glamorous for the role, but she nails it. The times she is caught out, with the "OK thanks" to the put-upon neighbor babysitter, not eating at the restaurant, and generally doing well portraying the frustrations and humiliations of povertous living. She's much more believable here for me than in Pretty Woman.

It helps that Soderbergh's direction is so clean. I don't know if he was young and going by the books with his techniques the whole time, but he's really pretty invisible the whole time. This film is right in the middle of an incredible spurt from him, in two years releasing Out of Sight, The Limey, Eric Brockovich, and Traffic, and while I don't know if actual directorial choices can be compared between them, it's apparent that he was in his stride and firing on all cylinders. Pulling a '74 Coppola and getting the Best Director Oscar for Traffic is no mean feat.

George and the kids are definitely just there for spice, to provide some longer term constraints that aren't solved with a paycheck. Even her bringing the kids into the office doesn't result in anything much other than the receptionist offering them candy. Which is nice, but not the "fire in her hair" situation you'd see in something like Mr. Mom or movies where the hassle of (single) parenthood is more than a MacGuffin. I'm not sure it could have been played any different given the story, and in that way it's really just enough to get the points across. "Your babysitter had to go somewhere so I told her just to leave the kids here with me, the new neighbor," sounds really odd these days! It also enables that whole side of the story to smoothly proceed at the margins. These days they'd have to cut that whole idea out, or spend a lot of time fending off CPS.
posted by rhizome at 10:55 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]


The Bechdel Cast on Erin Brockovich with Alfred Molina

"Men's rights? What kind of crap is that!?"
posted by ODiV at 11:35 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]


It's super rewatchable and I end up with that Sheryl Crow song stuck in my head every damn time.
posted by fleacircus at 4:49 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


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