Sunday, August 14, 2016

Erin Brockovich

Movie Name: Erin Brockovich
Year of Release: 2000
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Julia Roberts, Aaron Eckart, Albert Finney, Conchata Ferrell, Marg Helgenberger, Cherry Jones, Peter Coyote, Veanne Cox, Travey Walter, Wade Williams, Mimi Kennedy, William Lucking 
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Following the critically well received "Out of Sight" and "The Limey", director Steven Soderbergh had a fantastic year in 2000, with the release of two big films that were both awards contenders and simultaneously audience draws, the films being "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic". "Erin Brockovich" is a biopic which depicts the life of a single mom struggling to make rent payments, who gets involved in a car accident. Trying to sue the person responsible for her crash, Erin loses her court battle much to her despair, and basically ends up working for the lawyer who failed to help her secure financial compensation from that accident. Erin's proactive nature and dynamic stance, gets her involved in a case which starts as a real estate investigation, and evolves into something much bigger involving a large company and a small community in California.
Director Steven Soderbergh is one of the most interesting directors working in films these days. He combines his taste for experimentation, with all types of subject matters, usually involving central characters that are somewhat at odds with the reality that surrounds them. His central characters have a unique view of the world and how they relate to it, and through their resilience and perspective, manage to persevere and overcome their obstacles. That was the case of characters such as Graham in "sex, lies and videotape", Kafka in "Kafka", Aaron in "King of the Hill" and even Liberace in "Behind the Candelabra". In such an eclectic career, "Erin Brockovich" may be more of a typical biopic, but it's a film that showcases an episode in the life of a strong willed woman, someone who focuses all her attention on her cases, at the cost of everything, including her own family life. If anything the flawed screenplay depicts a very benign version of a person, someone who is an advocate for all sufferers of injustice (almost like a new version of Martin Ritt's "Norma Rae"), but it's still a great character study. The film features fantastic performances from Julia Roberts (who won the Oscar), Albert Finney and Aaron Eckart, and also features the beautiful cinematography from Edward Lachman. A very good film always worth watching.