There may not be much in Erin Brockovich that is terribly surprising or innovative, but the film is, nonetheless, always well crafted. Soderbergh manages to elicit sympathy for the tough but lovable Erin, her difficult but lovable employer, and the various suffering townspeople they represent. He is also able to balance a number of other emotions with the evocations of compassion which dominate the film. He is, for example, able to arouse feelings of love when depicting the relationship between Erin and her neighbor, feelings of anger directed towards unscrupulous attorneys when showing their amoral, hurtful actions, and feelings of humor interspersed at different points. The film's wit may not always be the most original, but it is consistently entertaining and emotionally satisfying. Barbs are always directed against those towards whom we desire them to be directed. Finally, I should note that while the movie's resolution is easily foreseeable, it is, not surprisingly, genuinely gratifying.
Although Erin Brockovich is far from being a great film, lacking any qualities suggesting a deep aesthetic sensitivity on the part of the director, it is well made, well acted, and generally appealing.
Review by Keith Allen
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