How Historically Accurate Is The Movie Erin Brockovich?

Though some may not admit it, many have daydreamed about which celebrity would play them in a biopic. However, few will ever have the opportunity to see this dream become a reality. Environmental activist and self-proclaimed "potty mouth," Erin Brockovich, however, belongs to the small (but mighty) group of everyday individuals who have had the surreal opportunity to see their life's story reimagined for the big screen. But how historically accurate was the film "Erin Brockovich?"

Well, according to an essay penned for CNBC by Erin Brockovich herself, the Academy-Award-winning film starring America's Sweetheart Julia Roberts was about "98% accurate." This is a pretty surprising level of accuracy considering the notorious Hollywood treatment typically involves creative liberties that turn a true story into a twisty-turny drama-filled nail-biter.

Based on Brockovich's retelling of her experience fighting the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in Hinkley, California, it seems like there was no need for added drama, it was already all there.

The real Erin Brockovich

Written by Susannah Grant and directed by Steven Soderbergh, the movie "Erin Brockovich" premiered a full four years after the Hinkley case was settled in 1996. Erin Brockovich was approached for her life rights in 1995, and "Erin Brockovich" came out in 2000, which gave the cast and crew five years to figure out the best way to tell the complicated and heart-wrenching story.

The film sparked important dialogue around the unchecked power of billion-dollar corporations, as well as opened the door for more legally-backed consumer protection. Not to mention, it also won Julia Roberts an Oscar, for her highly-acclaimed portrayal of the unlikely activist.

While the movie introduced the concept of grassroots environmental activism to the masses and shone a much-needed light on the pivotal work of Brockovich, Hinkley is still dealing with the horrendous effects of contamination nearly 30 years after PG&E leaked toxic chemicals into the town's water supply, says ABC News.

Unfortunately, atrocities such as the ones that took place in Erin Brockovich's town are not solved by the fame that follows the Hollywood treatment. It takes grit, determination, and continued collaborative effort. Luckily, there are environmental activists like Erin Brockovich still fighting the good fight, even when the spotlight isn't on them.