By Molly (Santa Cruz, CA)
The Babe Against The Bad Guys
What could be better than a busty babe against the bad guys? Erin Brockovich attracts a wide variety of viewers, from starry-eyed men to envious women. Although distracting, the sexuality endowed by Erin Brockovich, portrayed by Julia Roberts, is not the main objective of the film. Prepare to put the kids to sleep and enjoy the beauty and the brains of Erin Brockovich.
The film takes place in 1993 and stars Erin Brockovich, a sassy struggling single mother with blatant beauty and brains. The film begins by showing Erin getting into a car accident and seeking litigation with her attorney Ed Masry. The movie is based in Hinkley, California, a small rural town that has been contaminated by Pacific Gas and Electric’s power plants. The main characters other than Erin Brockovich played by Julia Roberts include Ed Masry, who is Erin’s attorney and eventual boss played by Albert Finney. Erin also has a boyfriend and nanny figure, George, played Aaron Eckhart. The last main character is Donna Jensen, a rural Hinkley house wife who is one of the first victims of hexavalent chromium played by Marg Helgenberger.
Erin Brockovich is depicted as a struggling, smart, bold and trashy, single mother of two children trying to support her family. After a car accident and a failed attempt to be compensated for her injuries due to the accident she asks her Attorney, Ed Masry, to hire her for the failed suit. Ed Masry allows Erin to work as a clerk at his law firm where she beings to investigate a real-estate case she was given to file. Erin becomes absorbed in the case and decides to investigate the forgotten file herself.
After long hours of investigation and interviewing, the true reason behind the real-estate case begins to unfold. Pacific Gas and Electric was trying to buy their way out of the bio-hazard created by improper disposal that was affecting many residents that lived near the coolant towers. The film is a dramatic romantic comedy with a side of drama. The plot is vivid, allowing viewers to connect with the looming threat PG&E has imposed on the residents of Hinkley. The acting is so tangible that you cannot help becoming captivated by the gripping plot. The gravity of the issues depicted in the film are depressing but the comedic relief often comes just as you begin to feel exasperated.
Julia Roberts is famous for her acting abilities. She has featured in popular movies such as Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Stepmom and Sleeping With The Enemy. Erin Brockovich demanded a lot of beauty, emotion, and wit from an actor and Julia Roberts brought just that. Roberts, as usual, was absolutely stunning for her acting was captivating and kept the audiences attention. Roberts co-starred with Albert Finney who played Ed Masry. Finney’s career is not as robust among popular films but his acting was exceptional and played a major part in the film. Finney convincingly played an attorney with a genuine heart. The last main co-star, Aaron Eckhart played George, Erin’s biker boyfriend and baby sitter. Aaron was a believable bad boy who was not only passionate about his bike but was also a great role model for Erin’s children. The relationships that are built in the film are emotional and realistic; however, there is not a lot of individual character development.
The cinematography was average and a little substandard. The film was produced in 2000 thus, it lacked the modern high definition technology we have today. The film jumps around a lot with only short clips of scenery causing nausea for those with weak stomachs. The script was well written with perfectly timed comedic relief when situations got intense. Erin Brockovich’s narrative was clever and provocative with a confident sarcastic attitude a woman with her goals must command. Each actor’s portrayal of their character fit perfectly with the script. The film suggests Erin Brockovich as a seductive, boisterous, sexy woman who came from nothing. Today, the name “Brockovich” can be viewed as a sex icon that symbolizes strong, attractive women.
The framing of the film focused too much on the attractiveness of Julia Roberts’ character and not enough on the scenery. For example, they showed Julia Roberts’ collecting samples or walking towards the hazardous site with the camera focused only on her or her body and not on the condition of the PG&E plant or the environmental destruction. The film needed to build more character development beyond the attractiveness of Erin Brockovich. George, who came into the picture and seemed to be a key character was then lost in the film leaving the viewer a little lost and confused.
The music was typical, boring, background music; it did not follow the emotionality of the film, it was not memorable, and didn’t aid in the development of the film. For example, they choose to use a few of Sheryl Crow’s songs such as “Every Day Is A Winding Road” during exciting scenes. The songs the chose in particular “Every Day Is A Winding Road” is not exciting nor does it aid in the dramatization of the film during very dramatic scenes. The film could have benefited by utilizing popular music at the time other than Sheryl Crow, who was the only artist and was used too frequently throughout the film.
The film is also very long, lasting over two hours long. This film is emotionally demanding and by the end you are exhausted. Some of the scenes, especially ones that focused on the attractiveness of Erin, could have been shortened a little. Over all the film length was acceptable, but prepare to feel a variety of emotions for 130 minutes.
Erin Brockovich was a very powerful film and appeals to a wide variety of viewers. The film’s message is that clear, no matter what education or economic circumstances you come from, you have the ability to fight for what is right and win. The film is inspiring to all audience members, especially young women. It gives a sense of hope and faith in our legal system that we can have a say over what colossal corporations do in our country. Now go watch this inspiring film!