By Corey Quinto-
Based on true life events, this 2000 film tells the story of Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts), a down on her luck single mother who fought against the corporation known as the Pacific Gas and Electric Company while trying to raise her three children. Set during the early 1990’s, the film tackles on themes of capitalism and corruption that shows the horrible conditions that the citizens of Hinkley, California were facing at that time.
Julia Roberts gave a fantastic Oscar winning performance as Erin Brockovich. Robert’s performance allowed her to bring out the strength and power of Erin without making it a complete impression of herself. Roberts captures the character through her marvelous portrayal and brilliant direction by director Steven Soderbergh. The tagline made famous from the movie, “She brought a small town to its feet and a huge corporation to its knees” was exaggerated quite a bit as stated by the Erin Brockovich herself. Brockovich cited on record, “We didn’t bring a giant to their knees obviously; we just woke them up – woke up the dragon”. In addition, Brockovich stated on her website that the film was actual 98% accurate.
Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry, the lawyer who took on her case, both appeared in the film. Brockovich was very easy to recognize in her role portraying the waitress. Masry played a customer who was seated in a booth, both in the restaurant sequence. Furthermore, Judge Leroy A. Simmons who conducted the real PG&E hearing in Barstow appeared as himself in the film.
There were many concerns from the residents of Hinkley when the film was being released. They felt the movie made the general public feel justice was served when in actuality only six hundred of the town’s one thousand residents received compensation. The movie also caused other problems for the people of Hinkley; most were unable to obtain health insurance. Nobody wanted to grant the residences and their families medical insurance at the release of the film.
With five Academy Award nominations, only Julia Roberts took home the Oscar for her performance as Erin Brockovich. She also won a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, a SAG and a Critic’s Choice Award and was the first actress and second actor overall to achieve those accolades.