Julia Roberts stars in this incredibly inspiring drama about the life of Erin Brockovich -- a working-class mother with no legal background who spearheaded one of the most significant corporate lawsuits in US history. The film opens with Brockovich struggling to raise her children on a meager salary and few future prospects. A woman who spent much of her youth in the beauty pageant world, Brockovich did not attend college and spends her days searching for work to support her family.
One day, her luck strikes and she gets hired as a paralegal at a small firm. A spirited, albeit tough-minded, legal clerk, Brockovich quickly becomes aware of a rash of cancer deaths near PG&E factories. After connecting with the victims of the burgeoning civil suit, Brockovich encourages her small firm to take on the case. The stakes are incredibly high. Her demanding schedule places a severe strain on her boyfriend, who is caring for her children and performing househusband duties, and her two young children, who complain they no longer see her. While she is torn, she persists in her pursuit of PG&E. Other challenges make holding PG&E accountable quite difficult. Her firm is small and PG&E is armed with numerous corporate lawyers.
However, Brockovich's deep empathy for her clients, many of whom are working-class people with children, like herself, makes her persist and, ultimately, PG&E settles for millions of dollars, of which each family receives a sizeable portion. In the last scene of the film, Brockovich's boss confronts her and states, after enduring a difficult period working on the case against PG&E, that he will promote her. When she says she would also like a larger portion of the settlement, he surprises her with check much larger than anything she imagine.
The final title card states the Erin Brockovich then made a career of pursuing such cases and she was subsequently involved in numerous corporate litigation cases regarding environmental negligence in communities in close proximity to processing or manufacturing plants. The film will appeal to viewers who enjoy movies featuring underdogs and whistleblowers against corporate greed and negligence. The film also provides an interesting and accurate dramatization of one of the most important legal battles against corporate environmental negligence in US history.