The legal part of the plot is largely the same story as A Civil Action. A small legal firm discovers the factory of a large corporation that has supposedly poisoned the water supply of a small community.
I happened to see the real Erin Brockovich in an interview shortly before the movie. She's comes across as a lot more intense than Julia Roberts was able to portray. Julia did a good job, and it was a fun movie and the part fit her well. And of course she's very sexy. But the determination she portrayed wasn't quite the same as Erin's intense focus. Julia character seemed impatient when other people tried to take advantage of her. Erin always appeared ready to pounce on anything she doesn't agree with.
This snippet of Erin's life is a bit sappy and predictable. It starts out with how she meets the lawyer and how she bulls her way into a job. Then, we get the impression that she stumbles onto the big case just a few weeks after she starts.
One thing that's unclear from the portrayal is how quickly and how well she understood the problem. IOW, was this an instance of a bright person spotting a potential problem that others had overlooked? Or was this more like the stereotypical New Age liberal knee-jerk reaction to chemical names sounding bad, therefore they must be? And it just so happened the hysteria was well-founded for once? (31/JUL/03 - Hmm, from what I've read since then, I think I was waaay too generous my respect for the lawsuit. Apparently, the "science" they put in the movie really was New Age liberal knee-jerk reaction to scary-sounding names. The wide range of symptoms portrayed in the movie should have been a clue that very likely there wasn't a single cause.)
So those were the questions I had. But what they did show was entertaining. Erin Brockovich is a character. She's apparently bright and has an incredible memory and a very quick wit. She understands people and knows how to manipulate them. (As portrayed in the movie, only to help them.)
In fact, she's so bright one wonders why she hadn't "made it" earlier. Maybe her abrasive personality?
Albert Finney does a fairly good job as the lawyer. But the movie is really about her. He gets stuck in a lot to try to show their relationship. But he's definately second billing. And I don't think we ever found out what happened to her boyfriend. He just sort of fades away.
Fairly standard feel-good David and Goliath story. Fun, well done and good pace. On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Rental.
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