Erin Brockovich and The Fictional World of Archives

Feature Film Release Date (USA): March 14, 2000 (premiere)

Brian Hubner submitted this scene analysis of Julia Roberts' (Erin Brockovich) Oscar-winning performance based on a true story:

Erin, a filing clerk with a law firm, uncovers the wrong doings of a water utility company (Pacific Gas & Electric). In the course of her investigation Erin makes three visits to the records office of the "Regional Water Board" looking for evidence. She is able to manipulate a geeky clerk named Scott into letting her into a records storage area, piled high with files, papers and binders, where she proceeds to copy water records.

David Mattison comments that it is worthwhile to compare this film with John Travolta's equally riveting performance as lawyer Jan Schlichtmann in another true story about an environmental damage lawsuit, A Civil Action (1998). Records also play an important part in this film, especially at the end when Schlichtmann, bested and bankrupted by lawyer Jerome Facher (played to chilling perfection by Robert Duvall), finally sends his legal records to the Environmental Protection Agency who are eventually successful in suing the company Facher represents.

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CONTENTS: The Fictional World of Archives

Submitted by Brian Hubner, 2001.03.21; contribution by David Mattison, 2001.04.03. Updated 2001.04.03.