Monday, June 30, 2014
Retro Review: Erin Brockovich (2000)
'Erin Brockovich': A Quiet And Inspirational Meditation Of A Real-Life Woman Who Refused To Stay Silent
Normally, films are used as either art or entertainment and not typically a blend of both. But here comes a film that does find a happy medium of the two as Erin Brockovich becomes grounded in reality while using the titular woman's story as a backdrop for a feel-good story to lift our spirits.
Erin Brockovich is based on a real-life story about a struggling mother of three named Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) who lands a job at a law firm. While working there, she stumbles across a real estate case involving poisoned water supply which greatly affects the surrounding townsfolk. This investigation then leads to one of the biggest lawsuits in American history and greatly affects Erin as it takes a toll on her personal life.
What I Liked About It:
First off, I absolutely loved Julia Roberts' performance. One thing that was so unique about her portrayal was that she takes the quirks that she is known for, in particular her big smile, and uses them to showcase the more serious-minded character's drive. She even has scenes where she pulls off masterful nuance. For example, there is a scene where her boyfriend, played by Aaron Eckhart, is telling her about her daughter's first word while they are on the phone. In that scene, Roberts shows us what is going through the character's mind without having to even say anything. So, Julia Roberts is absolutely brilliant in this movie and proves that she is a capable dramatic actress as well as a comedic one. I also really liked the scenes between her and Albert Finney, who plays Erin's boss Ed. The two of them have a wonderful non-romantic chemistry and the scenes between the two were some of the film's highlights.
Another thing I liked was how director Steven Soderbergh was able to take a mainstream film and through his direction, give it artistic merit. The film does have some entertaining light-hearted moments that could please the general public and manages to be a story that lifts our spirits, but could easily satisfy the cinephiles thanks to Soderbergh's realistic direction. One scene that was well-directed that I really liked was the scene where Erin meets a client who runs over to tell her kids to get out of their pool and the camera focuses on the woman running outside then cuts over to Erin's quiet reaction.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Erin Brockovich is a masterful and entertaining biopic with artistic merit that features a fantastic performance from Ms. Julia Roberts. If you are a fan of Roberts, I would put this high on your watch list. If you aren't a fan of hers, I would still say give it a watch because she just might surprise you.