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Movie Review

Erin Brockovich

MPAA Rating: R for language

Reviewed by: Gabe Rodriguez
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
2 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Scene from “Erin Brockovich”
Featuring: Julia Roberts, Marg Helgenberger, Aaron Eckhart, Scotty Leavenworth, Albert Finney
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Producer: Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher
Distributor: Universal Pictures

After spending over two hours in a packed theater watching “Erin Brockovich”, the whole place erupted in applause. Literally. “Erin Brockovich” is not only the first great movie of the new millennium, it’s the movie that hands Julia Roberts the best role of her career.

Based on a true story, “Erin…” follows the title character, a single mom, who has been divorced twice and now has three small children. She gets a job at a law firm, but her “white trash” demeanor of skimpy clothing and a mouth that could stand to be washed out with soap causes her to find herself hanging on to her job by the string of her halter top. But soon she discovers something astonishing: in a small desert town, a local water plant has been poisoning the area water. Now all the town’s residents have diseases; bad ones that range from cancer to spinal meningitis. With Erin’s help, the small town’s residents are going to bring this big name water conglomerate to its knees.

The amazing performance by Julia Roberts is what gives “Erin Brockovich” its shine. Working from an amazingly good script by Susanna Grant, Roberts literally becomes Brockovich and she is nothing short of Oscar caliber. Albert Finney, in a far more subtle role, is great, and he provides needed balance to Erin’s brash ways.

The only objectionable elements are Julia’s skimpy outfits (which flaunt her pushed-up cleavage) and the harsh language which flows from her mouth. There are an upwards of 25 f-words and quite a few others. No violence or sex is seen.

A masterpiece, to be sure, “Erin Brockovich” is not to be missed for those who enjoy this genre of film.


Viewer Comments
This was truly an excellent movie. And best of all it was based on a true story. Julia Roberts truly did a fantastic job acting. Yes, this true life individual may have a bad mouth and wear skimpy clothing, but this is another rags to riches story that shows me that God is in control and nothing happens by accident although we think it might. This movie had the audience laughing and crying. And just think, I wasn’t even going to see this movie at first. This movie is truly off da hook!!! Be cautious of the language though. My Ratings: [3/5]
—John Traylor, age 34
This movie accomplished humorously (and with flying colors) what “A Civil Action” tried to do solemnly, with similar based-on-true-story plots. Julia Roberts shines in a new sort of role for her, possibly the best of her career. My Ratings: [2½/4]
—Brad D. Francis
After reading your review, my husband and I decided to go see “Erin Brockovich,” since we like stories of this genre, especially if they’re based on a true story. I happened to catch a behind-the-scenes program about this movie the other day and would like to share some facts. The real Erin played a brief part as a waitress, the factory shown is the actual factory Erin dealt with, and in the town hall meeting scene, there were some actual plaintiffs from the case filling the audience. Regarding the comment from the reviewer that “no violence or sex is seen,” I would like to add that there is one scene of a sexual nature in the movie, but nothing explicit is shown. Erin is in bed with a man, with both of them partially undressed. Even though, all they do is kiss, there is no doubt what is going on. Later, we see that he becomes her nanny and therefore is at her home all the time, but one scene reveals that he was actually living there with her. Yes, the language is abundant, with the most common usage being the f-word, and it is often used for laughs, but Erin uses other “colorful” language as well. (An interesting side note about the language Erin used in the movie, Julia Roberts declared in an interview that it was very awkward at first, because it’s words she doesn’t use.) Despite Erin’s provocative dress, behavior, and speech, she is a caring, hardworking single mother, whose main goal is just to provide for her three little children… She is an inspiration that even a common person can succeed in life if they have enough drive and determination. My Ratings: [2/4]
—Debbie James, age 41
This movie was fabulous! While admittedly there was some revealing clothing worn, and profanity used, the viewer must keep in mind that this movie was used to portray the life of an actual person. Though it is sad, in order for the movie to be a realistic portrayal, the clothing and language were necessary. My Ratings: [3/5]
—Brooke Hollyfield, age 17
This movie has a great plot and its theme is solidly based. Only the extreme profanity and non-ending cleavage brings it down. I was reminded once again that our society can never come out with an adult oriented movie that doesn’t include some form of nudity, violence or profanity. My Ratings: [2/4]
—Nathan, age 19
Julia Roberts proves that she can carry a film with her acting ability alone, not to mention her winning smile. This movie has a great deal to offer as entertainment because it is a skillful dramatization of an already dramatic story… The script is tightly written, the action fast-paced, the story lines interwoven so well that we don’t skip a beat. We watch Erin dig for the information in her inimicable way, handle a relationship with a unemployed neighbor who becomes her nanny and boyfriend, and gain the respect of her boss, who was planning to retire after many years in the business, but becomes inspired by her relentless pursuit of justice in this case. Erin’s style of dress, her language, are a shock for the lawyer’s office. But her bawdy mouth and her provocative appearance (low-cut cleavage and shorter than short skirts), although can be deemed offensive, do not undermine this otherwise inspiring movie that shows what people can do when they commit themselves wholeheartedly to a good cause. Despite the foul language which Erin knows how to hurl, she is a likeable and positive character, her profanity stemming from her ignorance and frustration. There is an implicit adulterous relationship between her and her neighbor/lover, but it is overshadowed by the main theme of the movie, which is to get justice for the sick and dying people. Finney’s well-developed portrayal of a lawyer who has the heart to risk his business for a cause is credible and full of depth. For an “R” rated movie, this is good entertainment for older teens and adults. That it is a true story, with the real Erin Brockovich making a cameo appearance as a waitress, makes it well worth the admission price. My Ratings: [2½/5]
Halyna Barannik, age 54
There is a moment in the powerful movie in which Erin compares fighting the PG&E company to David fighting Goliath. This is an excellent metaphor for how this movie made me feel. In it Erin Brockovich is an ordinary working-class divorced mother taking care of 2 kids since her former husbands are deadbeat dads… the character of Erin Brokovich is a modern day David. A woman who wasn’t very powerful who took down a giant corporation through hard work, dogged investigation, and her determination to make an evil, corrupt, giant corporation pay for what they did. When it was all done her stones cracked open the company’s skull and they were forced to pay $333 million dollars (the largest amount ever awarded to a lawsuit of this type) to the families who got sick as a result of them. “Erin Brokovich” is an exceptionally powerful film with the message that if you follow your heart, fight hard, and never give up you can slay giants. There is also the message that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Erin may dress provocatively and have little education, but she is highly intelligent and hard-working despite her outward appearance. Her boyfriend rides with a motorcycle gang, but is good and kind-hearted. The performances are excellent, the dialogue well written, and the story powerful and inspiring. In terms of offensive content, there is a large amount of profanity, but it seems to fit with the character and despite Erin’s dress style the one sex scene in this movie is very discreet and non-explicit. On a final note—to the real Erin Brockovich who today is still working hard to help people I say, in all sincerity, rock on Brockovich, you’re a hero to us all. My Ratings: [3/4½]
—Andrew, age 24
Movie Critics
…features great performances from both Roberts (in what’s arguably her best work to date) and Finney, and continually comes off as an engaging, entertaining and definitely crowd-pleasing experience.
—ScreenIt!
…“Erin Brockovich” is a source of unimpeachable entertainment—a breath of fresh air in an arid, lifeless desert of studio dumps and throwaways.
—James Berardinelli
…Unfortunately, it’s… structured like a 10-inch-thick ham sandwich, and all of the filmmaker’s fine work and good intentions cannot make this repetitive and finally tiresome saga fly.
—Mr. Showbiz
…our major complaint is dialogue, filled with over fifty obscenities, and many strong profanities, which degrades a potentially enjoyable film. …earns a very objectionable rating.
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review