Erin Brockovich and The Promise C. Wright Mills was known for coining the term and writing the book The Sociological Imagination, term and book know by every sociologist to date. This referred to the intersection of history and biography, meaning that every individual is influenced by the past and that in turn reflects their decisions and their lives. Hence writing his or her own biography throughout life based on what an individual has experienced in the past. These influences are based on society and what is happening around an individual to make him or her live the way they do.
Erin Brockovich is an excellent movie that provides numerous sound examples of the sociological imagination. Choosing this film was based on the pure fact that it is based on a true story and the sociological problems that occur in this film are true. Society plays a huge role in this movie in all elements as far as families, corporate companies and the deception a powerhouse company like PG&E (pacific gas and electric) can elude to the public. In the movie Erin Brockovich is a twice-divorced single mother of three looking for work, as any single mother should.
After many failed attempts at finding work she tumbled upon Edward Masrys law firm, and landed a Job as a clerk. During her work she found blood samples and toxicology reports in occurrence with real estate paper work, which sparked her curiosity. Erin started to dig deeper and eventually unveiled a bigger issue, PG&E was pumping out water filled with toxic chemicals into the surrounding area. These families had many medical problems ranging from cancer and spinal deterioration to nose bleeds and chronic headaches.
PG&E bought homes from these people in attempts to clear them from the area as well as paid for their edical screenings, and paid doctors to lie to these people about the true cause of their conditions. All along they were completely oblivious as to why they were all sick. Erin convinced Marsy to commit to the case despite his nerves about losing the case, going broke and failing all of the people who were depending on them to bring justice to them and their families. Erin and Marsy eventually opened a case against PG&E corporate and won 333 million dollars to be disbursed amongst 634 plaintiffs.
This is a movie about dedication, hard work, deception, hope, and trust. The ilmmakers took a very big story, turned it into a wonderful movie and were able to show people who Erin Brockovich was and what she accomplished. Erin believed that she could bring these people Justice and knew what was happening was wrong. Erin took a stand and refused to let this corporation ruin any more lives, she took a stand against society and brought hope and Justice back into their lives. Erin Brockovich is now a huge activist throughout the world and is carrying hope and Justice to every person who wants it.
The connection between the film and The Promise is ndeniably there and it is present in every single aspect of the film. But, there were three main aspects that caught my attention during the film, the individuals and families affected, Erin herself, and George??”Erin’s lover. PG had a huge impact on every one of the before mentioned, maybe not as direct as the plaintiffs, but if it wasn’t for this case this amazing change would have never taken place and the connection in this film to The Promise is the plaintiffs and the families of the plaintiffs affected by the deception of this case.
Throughout the film Erin encounters umerous plaintiffs that are completely unaware of why PG&E decided or was offering to purchase their homes and pay for medical screenings. Every individual was getting more and more sick as the months progressed, and after many visits to hospital they were fed lies about the causes of their conditions. This corporation manipulated every single person and their whole lives were turned upside down. The corporation took control of outside sources that were meant to give people honest help, answers and feedback when presented a problem.
When asked what they hought about the series events that had been occurring they replied with exactly what they were molded to think. At first some were completely in denial that something so serious as this could happen, and others were relieved to finally get answers as well as Justice. Every experience these people endured was caused from a larger more powerful force beyond their control. They all had a common ground to stand on, and this common ground was sickness, manipulation, and deception.
Some people lost loved ones because of this corporation, some were thousands of dollars n debt because of this corporation, others were undergoing multiple surgical procedures to remove cancerous tumors, and others were completely blind because that was what the corporation wanted them to think. PG&E shaped these people’s lives and all of their experiences and not for the better. The second most prominent connection to The Promise and the film was Erin Brockovich her self. Like the plaintiffs this corporation, good and bad ways, affected her as well.
The most obvious way she was affected was by her work, which like the domino effect and affected any other aspects in her life. Because of this case she was able to keep her Job, put food on the table for her children, and eventually expose the public to the truth and help hundreds of desperate people. As I mentioned above her experiences were good and bad. With her new Job and long hours of research and going door to door to speak with people, she was not home with her children as much as she was before. Her son seemed to be the most affected by his mother’s new hours along with her lover, George.
Because of the case her relationship with her family was suffering, n the other hand if she had never gotten the Job she would have never been able to help hundreds of people and have such a huge impact on their lives. The decisions that PG&E made shaped Erin who she is today. She was able to make her mark in society, change lives, and change how that business is ran as we see it today and is now a huge activist throughout the United States. Although Edward Marsy was affected by this case, I think George’s life was more intricately affected.
Before Erin, George seemed to be a free spirit. His friends were a major part of his life along with his motorcycle group. He met Erin right after she began working for Marsy and before she discovered how huge of case it was. As her work hours started to increase George was stuck at home with her children babysitting more frequently as the months passed. In the scene when Erin invites a whole community out for a barbeque and is handing out informational flyers about PG a man who used to work for the company approached her and she is forced to leave the children with George.
In this scene a group of motorcycles passes by on the highway and he stops, Erin ended their relationship because he felt Erin wasn’t being appreciative of his uties as well as constantly being consumed with work. This is an excellent example of how a society affects the life and experiences of a person. Before George met Erin he was enjoying his life the way it was. After they started a relationship he seemed to lose himself and the interests he once had because of Erin working all time and being completely consumed with the case.
The case greatly affected George and his experiences within the film. If it weren’t for Erin working at that particular office, discovering those files and pursuing the case George would have never had to give p his lifestyle. Based on the few readings and additional research about this particular film, I feel that the filmmakers did an outstanding Job focusing on the win of 333 million dollars as opposed to what really happened with the money.
I have read a few articles about Erin Brockovich herself and according to Erin Brockovich, Julia Roberts plays her exactly how she is in real life, the same goes for Edward Marsy. For the most part the film was completely focused on the money and getting the plaintiffs compensation for all of their financial losses. After doing some light esearch and reading of my own, some of the plaintiffs were displeased about how the film was portrayed to the public.
The side America was able to view was only half of the story and apparently the other half wasn’t so glamorous as us as viewers would like to think. In my opinion the movie was only about one-third accurate according to the articles I have read. I am fully aware that it is Hollywood and filmmakers want to make money when they produce a film. Undeniably the film paints a more pretty picture about the case, but that is Hollywood and that is how the business functions. Coming from a sociological perspective and for the purpose of writing this paper the film was perfect.
I feel I was able to understand more about the The Promise as well as the sociological perspective and what it really entales. But after researching this case a little further I would have liked to see more emphasis on what really happened to the money, a more accurate portrayal of the plaintiffs as well as a more accurate portrayal of the pursuit of the case. As mentioned above the film does focus on the money but as far as what really happened during the case??”this ilm is really lacking in that aspect.
The film made it seem like every plaintiff was going to get a fair share of the money, but after further reading that was simply not the case. Some plaintiffs were granted far less than what their medical expenses accumulated to be, some waited years to see the money, some had to pay their layers thousands of dollars, and some actually tried to sue their lawyers because they felt they were cheated. I don’t feel this film needs anything taken out, but it unquestionably needs some important elements added to paint viewers a more accurate picture of this amazing case.