Starring: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Running Time: 131 mins
Erin Brockovich is an American film about the true story of a single mother down on her luck who almost single-handedly brought down a major corporation for having polluted the water supply of an entire town.
This isn’t the most fascinating drama, due to a relatively complex and overlong litigation story, but what is impressive is the character development of Erin Brockovich throughout, helped by good writing and a fantastic performance by Julia Roberts.
Let’s start with that. At the beginning of this film, Erin Brockovich is a very foul-mouthed and relatively irresponsible single mother who just can’t seem to get anything to work in order to help her look after her three young kids.
However, as the film goes on, and she becomes involved in researching this major scandal, she becomes much more mature and sensible, but what is most pleasing to see is that she still retains some of her fire that makes her such an exciting character to watch throughout, as despite beginning to understand the error of some of her ways, she remains very feisty right up until the end here.
There are two things that make her character so interesting in this film. Firstly, the writing for her is very well done, because she’s got all of this very mouthy dialogue that fits in with her character, and that almost exaggerated foul-mouthedness adds a slightly comedic note to the film as a whole.
Julia Roberts’ performance is also brilliant. She puts in a great show as this woman, and shows clearly both her very feisty and aggressive side whilst also balancing the obvious emotion and hardship that she feels. In fact, it’s Roberts’ very active performance that turns Brockovich’s character so well into one of the iconic strong female leads of the century.
Despite all that, however, there is one big issue with this film, and that’s the main story. In reality, the main plot is about the main character’s development and how she deals with all her problems, but the presence of this story about bringing down the water company for infecting the supply is presented as the main plot, even though it’s just a vehicle for Brockovich to change.
As a result, there’s a little bit too much focus on some of the legal aspects of the whole case, and that’s not something particularly interesting when what you really want to see is the main character, and although it is a necessary vehicle for her development, it definitely goes on too long and becomes a little dull to watch.
Overall, this gets a 7.2, because despite the overlong and relatively uninteresting main plot, the excellent character development and performance behind it is what makes this film a fascinating watch.