I often hear and do believe that being a parent is one of the toughest jobs anyone can have. It teaches you to be strong, patient and ever so loving no matter the struggles you face. For a woman to be a single mother with three kids, have less than one-hundred dollars to her name and unemployed is something that no one should go through. Yet Erin Brockovich did, and she did something truly great with her life. Steven Soderbergh brings us a compelling story of a woman struggling for survival who discovers that a company is doing something very illegal and aims to do something about it. Pretty Woman is the best Julia Roberts performance I’ve seen throughout her career, but everything changed when I sat down to watch Erin Brockovich.
I implore the idea of having a strong female in movies; from Ellen Ripley in Alien, to Sally Field in Norma Rae and the unforgettable Vivien Leigh from Gone With the Wind; these women are more powerful than their male counterparts and it’s their performance that makes us remember them. Now, I had always heard of Erin Brockovich, but never made enough time to watch the film. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it as Roberts fully embraces her character and delivers an exceptional performance that won her an Oscar.
The story itself was almost unbelievable at first, but as it started to flow I became hooked. Brockovich has been married and divorced twice, has three kids and no money to secure a future. After getting into a car accident, her lawyer Ed Masry (Albert Finney) is unsuccessful at getting her any money, which infuriates Brockovich. She calls her lawyer repeatedly and after hearing nothing she shows up to his office and acts if she works there. After telling him off in front of everyone Masry feels pity and offers her a job. Her coworkers look down at her but of her use of profanity when she talks and her choice of clothing. Brockovich later discovers a case file that Masry is looking into and wants to investigate on her own time. What she uncovers is shocking and quite damaging, as long as she can prove it.
I love Brockovich as a person because she’s the real deal. She dresses how she does and even if it is somewhat revealing, she’s comfortable. She says what’s on her mind and doesn’t care what you think. That’s a woman I respect and to others, she can be seen as cold and not ladylike. I felt that the movie has three things really going for it. The relationship between her and Masry once they start their investigation, the relationship between her and the neighbor George (Aaron Eckhart), and how Brockovich talks to the people who’ve become sick from the contaminated water that points to Pacific Gas and Electric Company. There are moments when the case becomes a bigger issue that requires a larger firm to handle the expenses and the lawyers look down on Brockovich. It’s almost as if she’s seen as less than them because she has no college degree and is the way she is. You can’t judge someone based on outward appearances or what you think about them, you have to engage with that person to know who they really are and what they stand for.
After watching Erin Brockovich, I felt empowered. It’s a great drama film and an interesting mystery in relation to the case that she becomes involved in. Director Soderbergh drew inspiration from All the Presidents Men and Rocky. I can see that quite clearly. Just because a woman doesn’t have the skills doesn’t mean she can’t do the work. Take for example a moment where a lawyer played by Veanne Cox talks to the plaintiffs and treats them exactly how a lawyer would. She takes away the humanity of why she is there. With Brockovich, she wants to know everything about them. Not just their illness, but their lives and dreams. She talks to them like a real person should: with love and care.
One of my favorite shows is Law and Order, and I love a good mystery, especially when things get complicated. As the case beings to unfold, it brought me back to Law and Order. I was asking questions the same as Brockovich did. The script by Susannah Grant is smart, witty and it all flows together by the direction of Soderbergh. Watching Erin Brockovich reminded me of October Sky on the idea that no matter who you are, where you come from, anything is possible. Brockovich has everything against her in the beginning and she never gave up. The real Brockovich is still a legal clerk who deals with cases involving environmental issues. She’s a pioneer and Roberts brought that tenacity to the screen in a performance that transcends everything she’s ever done. According to Brockovich, the film itself is roughly 98%-99% percent accurate.
Erin Brockovich is a very powerful character not just in the movie but in real life. It’s so nice to see a powerful character especially in a woman. Julia Roberts played a great character in Pretty Woman and here she continues that similar trait. She has the sheer will to be strong and do whatever she sets her mind to. Erin Brockovich, I feel this an inspiring film because her will proves that you shouldn’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. The very idea that she jumbled this case while raising three kids and struggling to stay financially afloat is something that I think is amazing. It feels as if this film brought out the strong female presence and complexity of her character. It’s a great performance.
Erin Brockovich garnered five Academy Award nominations, winning only one for Roberts, although Soderbergh lost to himself of all people for Best Director for Traffic. If you look closely you will be able to spot the real Brockovich and Masry, but that is for you to find out. Erin Brockovich hasn’t aged at all and is still an inspiring piece of work from a story that seems almost too real to happen and yet it did.
For all the strong women out there, never give up when someone tells you no. Stand up for what you believe in and don’t get beat by anyone. Brockovich is another fine example of a woman who will be remembered as great movie character but more importantly as a woman who did the impossible and brought a major company to its knees and helped numerous families who were affected by their callous actions. In other words, it’s a great film! One more thing to note is that the real Brockovich did get sick from the contaminated water and was even hospitalized, although this was not included in the film as it could be seen as her having a vendetta against the company according Soderbergh.
So, with that in mind, what woman in film history inspires you, real or fictious?