Julia Roberts Netflix True Story Will Shake You To The Core

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

Every so often, a film comes along that resonates deeply enough to amount to more than mere entertainment—it becomes a catalyst for awareness and change. One such film is undoubtedly Erin Brockovich, the gripping narrative released in 2000 that accomplished two feats: first, it showcased Julia Roberts’ formidable talent; second, it brought to light a harrowing true story of environmental injustice. 

Julia Roberts Won An Academy Award For Her Portrayal Of Erin Brockovich

Steven Soderbergh directed this engaging work, while Susannah Grant wrote the screenplay. It relates the biographical legal drama of the real-life Brockovich, an unemployed single mother who grew into a legal powerhouse against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) over its culpability in the infamous Hinkley groundwater contamination incident. 

For her portrayal, Roberts earned a well-deserved Academy Award, and the film reaped many other accolades, cementing its status as a film triumphing both cinematically and ethically.

A Persistent Erin Brockovich Stumbles Upon A Life-Changing Case

The narrative begins in 1993 when Erin Brockovich is a single mother of three struggling to make ends meet. After bombing a job interview, she’s rear-ended by a reckless driver. While her court case should go in her favor, it proceeds disastrously—meaning she’s still jobless and drowning in medical bills. Ever the persistent, driven person, regardless of her circumstances, Erin persuades her lawyer, Ed Masry, to hire her as an office worker. 

Steeped in the mundanity of office work and sorting files, Erin stumbles upon what appears to be a routine real estate case about PG&E’s efforts to purchase a home in Hinkley, California. But her curiosity is piqued when Erin discovers the odd presence of medical records among the real estate files. This insatiable curiosity leads Erin Brockovich down a rabbit hole of environmental investigation.

A Corporation’s Lies Harm Small Town Residents

Her initial inquiries reveal disturbing details—residents of Hinkley have endured a staggeringly high rate of illnesses. Tragically, the residents of the remote California town attribute their unusually high rate of medical pathologies to bad luck instead of the carcinogenic hexavalent chromium contaminating their water supply. 

While the enormous corporation had promised the victimized town that the chromium in their water supply was safe—the company knew, all the while, it was anything but. Thus, armed with dogged determination and increasingly strong evidence, Erin Brockovich embarks on a mission to expose the truth. 

In the process, she wins over the trust of the Hinkley residents, misled and damaged by PG&E’s lies. As Erin meets countless families and documents their hardships, her involvement in the case grows incredibly personal. But Erin’s unconventional methods and relentless pursuit of justice increasingly put her at odds with her boss, Masry, and the legal establishment.

Erin Brockovich Shed Light On Envrironmental Issues

One of the first major films to combine the environmentalist movement with mainstream audiences, Erin Brockovich struck a major chord with viewers worldwide. It was not merely the film’s David vs. Goliath narrative that did this, but its unflinching examination of the impacts of industrial pollution on small communities.

Because of this, the movie grossed over $256 million globally (against a $50 million budget) and became a beacon of success for both Roberts and Soderbergh. Critics adored the film’s sharp writing and compelling screenplay, which treats severe subject matter with subtlety, nuance, and quiet dignity. Robert’s powerhouse performance earned admiration, too, especially for blending drama and humor in the service of an urgent story. The film maintains an 85 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

The Supporting Casts Elevates Roberts’ Captivating Performance

Ultimately, Erin Brockovich surpasses a simple tale of legal triumph and offers a poignant exploration of the human cost of environmental degradation and corporate greed. The movie deftly balances the heavy themes of justice and advocacy with instances of humor and warmth.

As Erin’s world-weary, sharp-tongued boss, Masry does much for the film’s balancing act of humor and heart, as well as Aeron Eckhart, who plays her biker boyfriend, George, excellently. Of course, it is Roberts who steals the show; her portrayal captures the essence of Erin’s spirit—the advocate’s resilience, fiery passion, and deep empathy for those wronged by systemic indifference.

The Real Life Erin Brockovich

The real-life Erin Brockovich is a veritable superhero in environmental activism and the fight against corporate giants. After triumphing over the real-life Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which had to pay a $333 million settlement (of which Erin received two million dollars), the activist earned international fame—especially through the release of the subsequent film documenting her story. 

While the movie highlighted Brockovich’s unconventional methods—her empathy for Hinkley residents’ suffering and her fearless confrontation of a corporate behemoth—her influence extends far beyond her cinematic portrayal. She continues to champion environmental causes and leverages her platform to challenge irresponsible corporate and governmental practices.

To see her story powerfully told, stream Erin Brockovich today.