Most Popular Mistakes about Love—& How Not to Make Them!
#3: Women Are Intelligent & Sensitive; Men Are Brutes
learn about some of the
about love through Erin Brockovich's relation to her next door
George, played by Aaron Eckhart. Erin Brockovich wants to see men as
brutes, shown through contemptuous remarks about both her ex-husbands.
However, she gives two messages to men: a come on through the
way she dresses, and a get away through her scornful rebuffs.
makes her very representative.
desperation, Erin begs
lawyer Ed Masry,
played by Albert Finney, to employ her, and he grudgingly agrees. That
evening, we see her tenderly covering her sleeping baby. Next door,
starts revving his Harley-Davidson. She runs out, furious at the loud
He apologizes immediately, and in a likable way introduces himself as
new neighbor—but she's angry and unrelenting.
in old jeans and
leather, appears to
be tough, but as he talks, there's a forthright kindness, a
He is, of course, affected by Erin; he wants "to make up for my
by taking her out to dinner and asks for her phone number. She smiles
with a touch of scorn says, "You want my number?" George, daunted but
cheerful, says: "I do, I do want your number."
they affect a man, women
have made a
huge mistake: they have had a contempt victory, which comes to "look at
what I can do to this fool." I am tremendously
know what Mr. Siegel explained about this: he pointed out that the world
has "a preliminary hand" in a woman's charms; it is the world that a
is affected by as he is affected by a woman: opposites such as delicacy
and strength, curve and straight line. Erin is scornful that men,
by her surface, haven't seen her depth. But she doesn't want them to,
she likes the victory of confusing them and feeling they're
her response to George
has style and
reveals things that deeply matter to her:
"Which number do
"Well, how many
numbers you got?"
"Oh, I got numbers
coming out my
ears—for instance, ten."
"Yeah, that's how
many months old
my baby girl is."
"You got a little
"Yeah, sexy, huh?
How's about this
for a number—six, that's how old my other daughter is; eight
is the age of my son; two is how many times I've been married and
divorced, sixteen is the number of dollars in my bank account; 850-3943,
that's my telephone numbervand with all the numbers I gave you I'm
is the number of times you're going to call me."
impersonal numbers stand
for the most
personal aspects of Erin's life. She turns abruptly to go in—
"How the hell you
bank balance right off the top of your head? —that impresses me!" —as
the door slams —"and you're dead wrong about that zero thing,
proves Erin wrong. He
likes her children
and they like him; and she is much affected. Knowing she desperately
someone to baby-sit so she can work, George offers to watch them in the
afternoons. Erin is suspicious of his motive, but he responds with
criticism—"You’ve got so many friends in this world, you can't use
more?" She reluctantly agrees.
Brockovich's purpose at the
law firm is
very different from how she is with George—there she has humility,
many questions and uses her keen mind to know. She's a secretary
and Ed Masry gives her a real estate case to simply "open a file on."
finds medical records in it, is puzzled, and starts doing research to
out why. She visits the client, the Jensens, a couple in their 30s
home Pacific Gas & Electric wants to buy—and finds out the
paid for a doctor, who assured them there was no connection between the
several benign tumors of Mrs. Jensen or her husband's Hodgkin's disease
and the minuscule amounts of chromium in their water from the PG&E
plant. (To the right is a still from the film of Marg Helgenberger as Donna Jensen)
Chromium is good for human beings, they were told. But
finds there are six kinds of chromium: one is highly toxic.
in records at the water board is evidence this one is the deadly,
Erin goes back to tell
Donna Jensen, Mrs.
Jensen can't believe it at first—then she looks out at her two
splashing in a pool, and with sudden, terrible urgency, runs to get
will come to know over 600
their children in the community of Hinkley suffering from diseases
by the chromium. As she visits and talks to them in their homes, we see
her mind working carefully and how deeply she's affected by them.
she comes to have a beautiful anger. Her boss wants to keep it a real
settlement, saying she has no idea the difficulty of a toxic
against a multi-billion dollar corporation:
Masry: "It could take
I'm just a guy with a small private firm."
happens to know
that they've poisoned people and lied about it. I may not know
legal difficulty], but I know the difference between right and wrong."
doesn't give up—and
there is good will,
belief in the best in Ed Masry. His conscience is stirred —he agrees
to take on PG&E, and Erin works literally day and night to get the
necessary evidence to win the case. The families in Hinkley would win
largest direct-action settlement ever—$330 million dollars— from
Gas & Electric.