Wow! It sure is refreshing to see Julia Roberts act in a film that is NOT a romantic comedy. From Mystic Pizza to Pretty Woman to what I believe is the best performance of her career, Julia plays the title character in “Erin Brockovich”, the true story of a working mother’s battle with colossal California utility company, PG&E. Residents of a small town are all stricken with mysterious illnesses because of contaminated water. Chromium is the culprit and PG&E is responsible. Enter Erin Brockovich, a struggling single mother now working as a receptionist at a tiny law firm, who unites the town in its lawsuit against the utility giant.
This next generation Norma Ræ is a true crowd-pleaser. It’s inspiring to observe Julia’s character grow from a naïve mom to a powerful advocate for the townspeople who genuinely cares about her cause. Besides Julia’s passionate portrayal of Brockovich, she has never looked hotter in a film. Her entire wardrobe seems to be lifted out of a Frederick’s catalog. Mmmmmm… halter tops. Albert Finney is also a hoot as Erin’s boss who we see change from a burned out lawyer set to retire, to an impassioned man with a mission. The only drawback to the tale is the unlikely relationship she has with biker turned babysitter Aaron Eckhart (In the Company of Men). Their romantic subplot seems to be forced into an otherwise perfect film.
Director Steven Soderbergh sticks to his indie roots telling the story with originality and intelligence while thankfully avoiding sugary schmaltz.