Julia Roberts, Albert Finney
I love Julia Roberts.
I know. I know. How can the critic who thrives on intensity love Miss Perky? How can the critic who prefers small, independent cinema really embrace Miss Popularity? How can the critic who prefers simple, plain actresses go for Miss Glamour?
It's not even remotely about the physical beauty. She's not my type.
It's not even about her acting style, which I definitely feel can be over the top.
In fact, it's quite simple. I think, and I may be wrong, it's about her. It's that simple.
Julia Roberts exudes humanity, and the vast majority of the time this humanity comes alive onscreen. Seldom has she had a character that allowed her to radiate the full range of being Julia...her humanity, her talent, her beauty and her presence. "Erin Brockovich" offers Julia Roberts the chance to shine. Shine she does!
In "Erin Brockovich," Julia plays the title character. A single mom with two children who is sassy, brash, sexy and determined to build a better life for her and her children.
Based upon the true story of a woman who, while working for a California attorney, does the "leg" work to almost single-handedly bring down a California power company for polluting a city's water supply, "Erin Brockovich" is a powerful story told in an "everyday" sort of tone that makes it accessible and interesting for nearly everyone.
Along with the Oscar winning performance by Roberts, we have a magnificent performance by Albert Finney as the attorney along with a host of supporting players.
The script is well-written with a simplicity that makes it easy to understand despite the challenging topic. Along with Roberts' Oscar win, the film received 5 other nominations including Best Picture, Best Director (Steven Soderbergh), Best Screenplay (Susannah Grant), and Best Supporting Actor (Albert Finney).
The film is a solid example of the potential for a comedy/drama type film to receive critical acclaim, and Roberts' Oscar win rivals the win by Marisa Tomei for "My Cousin Vinny" in terms of it being a relative surprise.
"Erin Brockovich" is not an earth-shattering, life-changing kind of film. It is powerful, but it is also entertaining, funny and even sexy. It's the perfect role for actress Julia Roberts to finally be able to show onscreen the complexity of her acting talent along with her tremendous beauty and brash sexiness. In short, it's everything I've ever wanted to see when I see a Julia Roberts film.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic