永不妥协（原 名：Erin Brockovich 演 员：茱莉亚罗伯兹）
ERIN BROCKOVICH (2000) Julia Roberts Captures Our Hearts and the Screen in this Powerful Tale of Personal Triumph. *G*E*M* Steven Soderbergh directs Julia Roberts in a mature, powerful, deeply moving performance of Erin Brockovich, a woman who has traded on her sex appeal and stubbornness to disastrous effect until she finds her perfection as a legal assistant championing the cause of a small community ravaged by a polluting industrial titan. We all boo and hiss when corporate corruption, cover-up, and greed knowingly hurt people. The courage of movie heroes and heroines to dig up the truth and stand against the malevolent goliaths tickles our spirits as we glean the awesome power of truth and goodness. Erin Brockovich is a magnificently adapted true story of one woman’s crusade against a corporate behemoth, but that is not what makes this movie the second gem of the year for both of us. Erin Brokovich offers a powerful vision for how a woman can achieve personal and professional victory by overcoming the external and internal constraints that keep her from integrating the full power of her sexuality, her mouth, her almost obsessive doggedness, her untapped intelligence, and her relationship charisma to cut through to the truth. As the movie opens, Erin begs for work for which she has no training. The highlight of her personal background has been a stint as Miss Wichita. Like many young women who are blinded by the easy triumphs their beauty procures, Erin has invested life’s resources poorly. She has been married and divorced twice and is struggling to raise three kids. Without a man or a job, her prospects seem dim, even to her. She teeters on the brink of disaster.Erin finds some hope in the form of a wealthy doctor who runs a red light and slams into her car. Erin believes she’s hit a litigation jackpot. Her lawyer, Ed Masry (Albert Finney) tries to tame her mouthy bitchiness in court, but she blows it on the stand and ends up with nothing. She then plays on her lawyer’s guilt about losing the case to leverage a job as a gofer in his office. In many ways, Erin is the white trash employee from hell. She wears garish outfits. She badgers the other employees and Ed with ripping insults. There may be truth in her jibes, but they are so hostile that she becomes more a liability than an asset.The real opportunity presents itself when Erin is given a routine, pro-bono (meaning the law firm gets no money) real estate purchase case in which a huge utility company (PG&E, Pacific Gas & Electric) is buying out the property of a family living next to one of its desert plants. Erin smells a rat and begins to investigate what turns into a major scandal. PG&E has knowingly dumped toxic levels of a deadly form of Chromium into the town’s water. Horrific diseases afflict most families living around the plant, but the people don’t realize PG&E has been the culprit.The dramatic tension that drives this movie so deeply into the heart is the transformation in Erin. She has always had a tremendous underutilized talent for gaining empathy, especially from the genuinely downtrodden. She also has a superb memory for detail and a powerful instinct for visceral confrontation with the flunkies and fops in the legal profession who try to bury her and the case in paper and bull. Finding a way to nail PG&E gives Erin the perfect opportunity to express her many gifts and benefit herself and others, but to succeed, she must make major changes and sacrifices.Some of the story elements of Erin’s success seem like a Hollywood fairy tale. Her next-door neighbor is a motorcycle riding construction worker between jobs with the time and the heart to tend her kids while she focuses on her job. Too good to be true perhaps, but then, all stories that have motivated us to broaden our consciousness, to accept more freedom and to achieve greater things than our station, our race, or gender would have allowed, have fairy tale elements. What is so important and moving about the stories like Erin Brockovich is their magical ability to provide an image of how we might overcome the external, and more importantly the internal, shackles that bind us.The power of the Prince (even in the form of a good looking construction worker) in this movie is not that he brings the magical answer to Erin, but that he tempts her to fall into the role of a kept Princess. At one point he demands more attention and makes the ever so enticing demand that Erin leave the rat race of her legal career behind to be with him and the kids. He calls on the deep longing in a feminine soul to fall back on the intimacy of a man rescuing her, taking care of her and her chicks, soothing her hurt and loneliness, salving her desperation. With great pain, Erin declares her will and pulls back from him to claim her own destiny.Erin has to make hard choices not just about her romance. As a struggling, single, working woman, she must find a way to be true to the demands of her kids. Even with the convenient Prince as part of the answer, Erin must find the place to love them and still achieve her glory. In a scene of immense pathos, this in many ways irresolvable dilemma finds a resolution. Erin’s son, who has become more and more resentful of his mom’s absence, finds a statement about a badly afflicted child his age. We won’t spoil the details, but what a magnificent way to show a boy suddenly mature with understanding and acceptance of his mother’s hard work.Erin’s other source of power comes from her ability to adapt her Aphroditic allure, which previously led to her failed dependence on men, into a weapon to cajole and seduce to get information. Her boobs, often consciously flaunted by buttoning down her tops to show a lot of cleavage and tan line, lead the way to important concessions and revelations.A lot of the emotional grip of Erin Brockovich comes from the clever dialog and intriguing story line. The interweaving of the words, the actions, the legal story, and the personal transformation journey are done with exceptional quality by one of our new favorite screenwriters, Susannah Grant. She wrote Ever After, Pocahontas, and the soon to be released 28 Days. Ms. Grant always puts women in roles where their character development is crucial to resolving all of the dramatic dilemmas. Even if her heroines get the man, it is not at the cost of personal integrity. We look forward to many more scripts with this powerful vision for how women can be as much as they are gifted to be, with all their flaws and blessings included.However, the greatest delight of Erin Brockovich is Julia Roberts. She stunned us with her acumen, maturity, and beauty. We are accustomed to seeing her portray women emerging from confusion or weakness, but never have her tears, her expressions, her sauciness, her body, her face, even her huge smile been more glowing. We are beginning to see the deeper beauty in her performances that comes with maturity. When the history of the cinema of this era is told, we believe that Julia will be a lasting tribute to stories that showed how sexual power can be integrated with personal power to achieve glory for and by women.We also acknowledge Albert Finney in a fine portrayal of a bemused lawyer who struggles to keep his balance with Erin and the huge case that threatens to bankrupt him when he is almost ready to retire. There is powerful chemistry between Ed and Erin, though it is not overtly sexual. They do not have to do "it" to have significant impact on each other. These two feral scrappers live best by their wits and their clashing. Often in ways neither seems to expect, they draw out the best in each other.And so, Erin ultimately hits her jackpot when she does the work she is best suited to do with gusto, determination, and sacrifice. What a magnificent cinematic metaphor to give us the vision to be more than we seem, to be all that we can be.