Erin Brockovich
    In this true story, Julia Roberts plays Erin Brockovich, a street-smart, twice divorced single mother of three, who isn't afraid to speak her mind and isn't above using her liberated femininity to get what she wants.  In other words, she excels at being a manipulative, conniving bitch... but in a good way.
    Finding work at a local law firm, Erin soon discovers the perfect outlet for these very formidable character traits.  She also stumbles across a legal case that will challenge her life and the lives of those around her more than she could ever imagine.
    Julia Roberts has been in a seemingly endless stream of less-than-memorable films recently, and I must admit that this was the one that I originally chose to pass by.  Apologies to all who failed to convince me that this was the one really worth seeing! 
    Indeed, Erin Brockovich is quite a good film.  Usually, films based on real people, especially those taking place in contemporary settings, tend to focus on the most sensational elements of the story.  The mundane and ultimately more lifelike facets are often forgotten, resulting in a film that provides only a shallow representation of the true events.  To its credit, Erin Brockovich invests as much in the emotional aspects of its story as it does in the Hollywood-pleasing aspects of its plotline.
     The strength of this film is due in large part to its fine screenplay, which skillfully combines drama and humor, and provides for a surprising amount of believable character development.  Because the story centers on Erin, both at home and on the job, we are given a very balanced view of her unique personality.  Through the course of the film, that personality undergoes some remarkable transformations, and as her feelings about herself and those around her begin to warm, the audience undergoes a similar change of feeling toward her once-acerbic demeanor.  In this film, Julia Roberts truly confirms her abilities as one of Hollywood's most versatile actresses.
    So, if like me, you had found movies starring Julia Roberts becoming tiresome, don't let that stop you from seeing Erin Brockovich.  It's her best film in years.  (at least until her next three or four movies come out later this year!)

Directed By:  Steven Soderbergh
Starring:  Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart

MPAA: Rated R (Language)
Running Time:  132 Min.
Review published
February 20, 2001
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A.J.'s Rating: 4 Stars and Renewed Faith in Julia Roberts
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