Text Review Assignment; Erin Brochovich

The work I reviewed is the 2000 film based on real story Erin Brockovich. The woman the film is named after is an American activist who fought a gas and oil conglomerate in the Mojave Desert. Brockovich is played by Julia Roberts and the storyline follows her journey as she fights against largescale environmental injustice. Said injustice came namely in the form of groundwater contamination by way of Pacific Gas & Electric between the years of 1954 and 1966. PG&E disposed of a carcinogenic hexavalent chronium in Hinkley’s local water supply leading to a multitude of serious and long-term health conditions in local residents. Brockovich stumbles on a single case and upon doing more research she is completely appalled by the blatant lies and cover-ups by PG&E. The film follows Brockovich along as she meets and gets to know the people in Hinkley affected, forming a connection with each one, with all of the actors in the resulting lawsuit likely regarding her as a friend. Erin Brockovich is widely renowned for her tenacity, passion, and bold nature; all of which are evident in her contributions to the class action suit involving PG&E and Hinkley. The film has a somewhat heroic tone with the ending showing the effects of the $333 million settlement gained, largely in part to Brockovich, marking this particular case as the largest class action settlement in U.S. history (at the time).


The story itself is obviously laced with injustice and has an overall heroic tone as I mentioned. Concepts of othering are extremely relevant as PG&E is a large conglomerate and clearly considered the “little people” to be others.  The disregard for something as monumental as local citizen’s health is infuriating, and that theme is continued throughout the course of the film. The director allowed the injustice to drive the plot, but portrayed it from the perspective of the wronged. Predating the Flint Michigan crisis, the film was largely groundbreaking as the general public’s lack of knowledge, as well as of the environmental/public health concerns of big oil and gas, is largely lacking.


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