Film Review: Erin Brockovich This film was based on a true story of an unemployed single mother, Erin Brockovich, who is just trying to get by. After a stream of bad luck, she finally convinces a lawyer to give her a job as a file clerk at his firm. Although no one took her all too seriously at work because of her lack of experience and “trashy” ensemble, she soon changes their perception of her when she begins to investigate a suspicious pro bono real estate case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
After relentless prying she finds out that PG&E was secretly trying to buy land from local residents in order to cover up the damages done in the area. Come to find out, they had been contaminating an entire neighborhood’s water supply with a deadly toxin called hexavalent chromium and not telling anyone. Erin Brockovich is by far the most interesting model of leadership in this movie but when you consider mainstream leadership qualities, she is not our usual contender.
What makes her so rare is that she hardly fits our cookie cutter impression of a leadership type individual. She was out of work, had three children, single, had two divorces, and no real employment skills. Yet, she had other hidden qualities that surfaced when the opportunity arose, which made her the ultimate transformational leader. Her independence, consistency, and inquisitiveness were the driving factors that ultimately won a 330 million dollar lawsuit against a multi billion-dollar corporation.
In the film, Erin reveals how leadership can come from the most unusual of backgrounds and experiences. Although Erin was a great leader in the film, I feel as though it was more or less situational and all leaders could not practice leadership in the way depicted in this movie. Like discussed in class, leaders can blossom from unexpected places. Some people are better at one thing than others and vice versa. Every opportunity to step forth is situational and should be analyzed in this way.
A single person cannot be the best at everything and must step down and let others take the reigns as well. Apart from being accepted at work, another challenge Erin had to overcome was getting her voice heard and convincing people that she was right and that there was some under the table things happening right before their eyes. Here, Erin emerged as a leader and was not afraid to back down from what she believed in and fought for the families affected by the contaminated water like they were her own.
She handled these challenges with determination and courage. The leadership elements communication, commitment, courage, consideration, and competence were relevant throughout the movie. It took a great deal of communication and courage in order for Erin to finally get her point across because at first she did not have any credibility and no one really took her seriously assumed that she had a lack of competence with law. She was forced to make them believe otherwise, and she ended up being successful with this.
Her commitment to the project and consideration of the families involved was tremendous. Her commitment was one of her strongest elements and I believe this was what made her so powerful in this case. Her courage of conviction was unmatched, and her leadership qualities really shined through with these elements. What I took away from this movie was motivation. If you have the heart and desire to do something, then anything is possible. Even when you may not have the background or experience in the matter, emergent leaders can develop from anywhere.
As a leader, I feel as though it is important to communicate and let your passion show through because people want to know that their leaders believe in what they are doing. Erin was an exceptional example of leadership because at first she did not seem like our typical leader. However, it was the situation that was presented that gave her the will to transform into exactly the type of leader that those families needed, and in the end Erin helped solidify a victory with the lawsuit.