In Erin Brockovich, Julia Roberts charms a small-time lawyer (Albert Finney) into employing her, a disullisioned boyfriend (Aaron Eckhart) to stay with her, a giant law firm into using her resources, and over 600 people to sign a law suit against the
multinational company thatís poisoning their water supply. I was charmed by Erin from the beginning, and stayed with her all the way.Brockovichís an inspiring woman, a hero, and Roberts is perfectly cast. Itís a star turn, but Brockovich deserves a larger-than-life star to play her. This is a single mother who fought to get a job as a lowly assistant in a small law firm. Her investigation into some medical reports in a real estate file led to the exposure of a major corporate cover-up and one of the largest payouts in American legal history.
Julia Roberts transfixes as Brockovich. Susannah Grantís script is slick and intelligent, with sharp dialogue, and avoids the flaws of a lot of films about real-life people and events. This is no static story of a life, frozen on film. Our picture of Brockovich emerges from her actions (getting her job, investigating the water-poisoning, rallying people for the lawsuit) and continues to evolve as the effect of those actions snowballs.
This is new territory for director Steven Soderbergh, but he succeeds in telling a gripping legal story without ever having to show the final court proceedings. Heís reduced the story to its human components: the overworked lawyer (Finney in fine form), the embittered and sick townsfolk, the disgruntled ex-employees who contact Brockovich with information. But most of all - and best of all - heís given us an inspiring portrait of Brockovich herself.Soderbergh and Grant let the facts of their story speak for themselves, and Roberts gives those facts a human, winning face.