BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Erin Brockovich ★★★★
Julia Roberts always seems to act best when dressed as a tart. She was stunning as the hooker in Pretty Woman and equally stunning as the more respectable but still hooker-clad heroine here. Maybe the comparative absence of clothes frees her from inhibitions. Whatever, in plunging necklines and skimpy skirts she won the Oscar as the eponymous and real-life Erin, who uncovered an enormous environmental crime. A divorced, unemployed single mother, Brockovich (who, incidentally, dressed as Roberts does in the film) parleyed her way into a job as assistant to a lawyer (Albert Finney), who had failed to win her a damages claim. From there, entirely off her own bat, she successfully investigated claims that pollution caused by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company had caused all manner of diseases up to and including cancer. Steven Soderbergh’s film is essentially about an apparent no-hoper, who found a sense of self-worth. It’s sharp and lively, and both Roberts and Finney are on excellent form.
The Liability ★★★
9.00-10.50pm Movie Mix
A young Jack O’Connell (Unbroken, ’71) stars here as an unruly teenager in need of some cash who takes a job driving an ageing hitman (Tim Roth). It’s not exactly a match made in heaven.
Someone to Watch over Me ★★★★
Ridley Scott made a rare foray into the romantic thriller genre with this atmospheric movie. Cop Tom Berenger is assigned to protect murder witness Mimi Rogers… and sparks fly.
Carve Her Name with Pride ★★★★
After being widowed during the Second World War a woman throws herself into espionage work. It’s an extraordinary real-life story with a gutsy lead turn by Virginia McKenna.
Miss Congeniality ★★★★
Sandra Bullock shows she’s more than just a pretty face in this wry caper, playing a tomboy cop forced to go under cover at a beauty pageant. Michael Caine struts his stuff too, as her weary mentor.
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