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Overall Rating
3.91

Awesome: 24.05%
Worth A Look56.96%
Just Average: 8.86%
Pretty Crappy: 5.7%
Sucks: 4.43%

11 reviews, 92 user ratings


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Erin Brockovich
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Soderbergh shows Hollywood how it's done."
4 stars

If you want mainstream Hollywood entertainment done right, you have to bring in an outsider. Sometimes, as when a maverick like Sam Raimi is unhappily married to a dud like 'For Love of the Game,' the union produces a stillborn child; but sometimes a talented director brings the material up to his level.

Steven Soderbergh, after over a decade of experimenting in various forms of independent film (sex, lies and videotape; The Underneath; Schizopolis; The Limey), has begun to dabble in the mainstream; his current marriage, to a major studio film with an A-list star, could have been enough to send him scurrying back to the art house.

The result here is not stillborn but a frisky, friendly child full of surprises. Erin Brockovich, Soderbergh's comedy-drama starring Julia Roberts, is in outline a lot like several other films, particularly A Civil Action, as well as the sort of true-life empowerment story you see on Lifetime every six months or so. But this film moves with a light step, and it takes time not just to establish characters but to appreciate them. You're in the hands of a director who genuinely likes people. In tone, the movie is actually closer to gentle mid-period Jonathan Demme films (like Melvin and Howard or Citizens Band) than to a routine legal drama.

If Erin Brockovich didn't actually exist (she does, and has a cameo in the movie as a waitress named Julia), some screenwriter would've had to invent her for Julia Roberts. As written by Susannah Grant (Ever After and 28 Days), Erin is brassy, determined, full of love for her three kids and wary of everyone else; the character is perfectly suited to Roberts' strengths, and she plays Erin as a frazzled, ordinary woman with a knack for cutting to the point. No cutie-pie, Erin is a sharp, angular person -- an irresistible force that doesn't believe in immovable objects.

After managing to find work at a California law firm, Erin starts to discover odd things in routine real-estate files: medical records that don't seem to belong there. She soon learns that a local plant, Pacific Gas & Electric, has been contaminating the water with chromium and has been trying to buy off the locals. With the initially grudging help of her boss, Ed Masry (Albert Finney), Erin digs deeper and tries to rally the townspeople in a lawsuit against the corporation.

In a way, Erin Brockovich is the distaff companion to Wonder Boys -- a disorganized wreck finds meaning in an endeavor larger than him/herself. The filmmakers here, as in Wonder Boys, pay more attention to subtleties of character than to plot mechanics. The actors are given space to bloom. Aaron Eckhart, so reptilian in his other roles (In the Company of Men, etc.), turns in a relaxed, friendly performance as George, the scruffy biker who gets involved with Erin and looks after her kids because he genuinely likes them. Albert Finney, too, seems energized in his many scenes with Roberts. They make a great team, providing two laughs for the price of one: Erin says something outlandish, and then Ed stands there silently, unsure whether to scream or laugh, or both. Watching Albert Finney struggling to keep his composure is one of the quieter pleasures of the movie season.

Don't mistake Erin Brockovich for a classic or a masterpiece. Like Soderbergh's previous mainstream film Out of Sight, it's simply an example of Hollywood entertainment done with finesse and compassion, the way it always should be but so often isn't. Perhaps such a movie triumphs more because of what it doesn't do than because of what it does (Erin Brockovich, for instance, contains not a single tedious courtroom scene).

The movie isn't really even about the lawsuit or about going after a corporation. It's about a woman finding out what she was meant to do, and finding the community that needs her.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1821&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/12/07 17:08:49
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell soild flick JULIA IS GREAT 4 stars
7/30/09 Ulla I love Julia...but why does she portray Erin as a slutty dresser? It makes women look bad 2 stars
2/08/09 Samantha Pruitt great acting, Julia Roberts really shines in this! 5 stars
11/16/08 Sol Not the most exciting, but somehow deserves the awards it's got. 4 stars
5/16/08 PAUL SHORTT A BIG, BRASH, BOLD SOCIAL FILM ISSUE THAT EXPLODES WITH A GOOD PERFORMANCE 3 stars
2/07/07 David Pollastrini RIP Ed Masry 4 stars
11/29/06 jenna i think that this was an awesome movie and julia roberts is an inspiring actress and woman. 5 stars
10/02/06 Jeremy Davies Great movie, was pleasantly surprised. Best performance by Julia Roberts 4 stars
6/04/06 Jess Bloody Awesome! 5 stars
10/19/05 Sinead Kane One of the best films every made 5 stars
8/25/05 Michael Liked it a lot ... too much swearing though 5 stars
7/27/05 Wc IT PARALYZE ME! 5 stars
2/02/05 Steve Michaud Roberts won an Oscar for this? Over Ellen Burstyn in "Requiem for a Dream"? What a sham. 4 stars
12/16/04 Ken Cenerelli Slow in parts but otherwise a worthy oscar winner. 4 stars
12/11/04 Charlene Javier Julia deserves every bit of that Oscar! 5 stars
12/08/04 frosty Something to chew on. 4 stars
12/05/04 Julie The moral tone of this film is disgusting. 1 stars
9/26/04 Edelyn Baja very nice movie. 5 stars
4/05/04 Agent Sands I get tired of the cocky Brockovich monologues, but all otherwise is excellent. 4 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser One of the best true-life dramas I have ever seen! Julia is excellent!!! 5 stars
11/01/03 Tell Shit Like Shit Is Decent fable. Too bad the previews made her seem like Erin Blockhead Bitch! 4 stars
10/06/03 John Bale Fiesty Roberts uses her obvious physical assets to advantage in a fine performance 4 stars
8/05/03 Sarrah Smith awesome! i made it into my thesis. 5 stars
7/26/03 Mr. Hat I'd have sex with Julia Roberts! I think Finney & Soderbergh did well, if a bit Hollywood. 4 stars
6/26/03 cochese Julia Roberts is among the top ten most annoying people in the world. This movie SUCKS. 1 stars
5/30/03 ReptilesNi Marg Helenberger would've made a better Erin. Julia's range is extremely limited. 3 stars
2/11/03 Pinkline Jones Very good film - Roberts' Oscar thoroughly deserved 4 stars
12/27/02 Rayna Kuzio Great movie!! Definately will buy for my collection! 5 stars
11/26/02 R.W. Welch Finney is priceless and Roberts effective though the pic drags in spots. 4 stars
11/15/02 Big Ted Julia's Best Performance is still Notting Hill. 4 stars
11/07/02 Tell Shit Like Shit Is Decent fable. Too bad the previews made her seem like Erin Blockhead Bitch! 4 stars
9/25/02 snowconehead lies, lies, and more wonderbra lies 2 stars
4/11/02 Sara Goldfarb's Red Dress Hey Jules, Mr Ed wants his teeth back.. 1 stars
3/26/02 Chris żĄ Oh, What a great movie. I had a smile on my face the whole time. 5 stars
1/23/02 Geo7654 Julia Roberts is stunning.........to look at, but the plot is just isn't interesting enough 3 stars
1/16/02 carmen lafuente a very good film 5 stars
1/13/02 Flick Chick i agree with travis - and i was so unintrigued, even i was starting to like her hooties. 3 stars
1/05/02 Andrew Carden The Direction and Production Is Very Unique, but It's Too Serious. 3 stars
12/30/01 adil moutanabbi Erin just made the woman figure a true pair of breasts, totally missfit in that domain . 3 stars
12/02/01 travis r. sorensen OVERRATED!!!!!!!!-but julia roberts has nice hooties 3 stars
10/30/01 ss good 4 stars
10/21/01 P.Rodriguez U Gotta Love Her Mams. Decent Movie Also. 4 stars
9/08/01 Gary Good dialogue, but standard fare overall. Julia was great, but Linney shudda got the Oscar. 3 stars
8/30/01 spaceworm Biker boyfriend far more authentic than Julia's chest. 3 stars
8/18/01 Dr. Thompson Is this supposed to be a hero? Ambulance chasing slut? 1 stars
4/27/01 nayana Das good movie 4 stars
4/12/01 Piz One of those "Ive seen this one before" type of films, where everyone root for the underdog 4 stars
4/09/01 Gary Good movie. I loved Roberts in it, but I liked her in Stepmom better. 5 stars
3/26/01 Kaarina Hautaniemi Now it is time for Julia Roberts to get that glamorous Oscar-statue. Good work! 5 stars
3/22/01 Neil Labute If Julia Roberts wins best actress, it ll be a fucking joke. 3 stars
3/20/01 Jake Silkwood, anyone? 1 stars
3/07/01 Mike steve how did you make traffic? 1 stars
2/20/01 Elvisfan Decent, solid movie but not Oscar worthy for anyone involved 3 stars
2/14/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Julia hasn't had a better role before or since, and she plays it like she knows it. 4 stars
2/12/01 Egg36 Dull story, but Julia Roberts is great eye-candy. 2 stars
2/05/01 Doug An amazing film and Julie deserves an Oscar 5 stars
1/28/01 Nic Like usual, Julia Roberts puts on a superb performance. But, then, when hasn't she?! 5 stars
1/10/01 Matt69 Hey Julia, Nice tits!!!! Standard film, but excellent perf by the tits. 3 stars
1/03/01 stacey james fuckin brilliant movie and bite my ass all those who dont agree 5 stars
10/26/00 bob mitchell superb casting for the story line. 5 stars
9/11/00 Terrie Smith Well written by Grant; good direction by Soderbergh. Let's not forget Julia either. 4 stars
8/28/00 Monday Morning I don't know about an Oscar but Julia's body deserves some kind of award. Great movie too. 4 stars
8/17/00 Girl 9 A little long but well done nonetheless. Some good acting for Julia Roberts 4 stars
7/12/00 Tom I never thought I would say this: Julia Roberts gives an excellent performance. 4 stars
7/11/00 Linda Hilarious but serious 5 stars
5/11/00 Dasha I'll never underesimate Julia Roberts again. Wow, she rocks here. 4 stars
4/21/00 Matthew Smith Julia roberts gives one of her best performances to date 5 stars
4/19/00 Sara GREAT!! 5 stars
4/12/00 punkass Someday all average films will be this good. A step down for Soderbergh 3 stars
4/09/00 lazt good story,great performances..see it. 5 stars
4/09/00 Richard Wright This had a very intelligent plot and some great dialogue. And no slushy music!!! YEAH!! 4 stars
4/09/00 kohawk I'd rather take a shotgun blast in the face than see this flick 1 stars
4/06/00 Mr C Excellent, witty, and entertaining 5 stars
4/06/00 Tim Julia Roberts was funny as hell in this movie and was believable 5 stars
4/01/00 Chef ADogg Nice cleavage. Bonus points for anchoring them with a decent movie. 4 stars
4/01/00 Captain Highcrime Impressive adaptation of what could've easily become TV movie fare. 4 stars
3/28/00 LC Did anyone else think of Silkwood while watching this film? Bigger boobs in this one though 4 stars
3/24/00 Chartsy Aaron Eckhart, where have you been all my life? 4 stars
3/23/00 Wafer Julia Roberts was great but it was a little long 4 stars
3/22/00 Chuckie I didnt know that one dirt poor woman could afford so many boob revealing outfits. 3 stars
3/22/00 Jenifer The movie gives struggling,single moms the hope for a better life for their children 5 stars
3/22/00 Movie Freek Despise Julia Roberts, but she gives the performance of the year in this terrific film! 5 stars
3/22/00 Joel Harwood JULIA ROBERTS GETS BETTER THAN EVER 5 stars
3/21/00 JonnyAngel a nice surprise 4 stars
3/20/00 El Tigre I am not a Julia Roberts fan, but I think she is great in this very entertaining smart film 5 stars
3/20/00 Paige Much better than I expected. Definitely worth seeing. 4 stars
3/20/00 Justine Briggs I thought the movie was great, very enjoyable. 5 stars
3/20/00 Bart Entertaining. Julia is a Star not an Actress. Pretty woman goes "trailer park." 4 stars
3/20/00 Louis Pretty good, a little bit long 4 stars
3/19/00 "Persnickety "Jenn pretty damn good, you rock julia! 5 stars
3/18/00 Malbert Another wonderful movie for Julia Roberts, I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did 5 stars
3/18/00 Mr Glute If you've waited for Julia to do something interesting, she's finally done it. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Mar-2000 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  13-Apr-2000 (M)




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