If you decide to watch this movie, settle in for a long film and make sure you know your lawyer jargon before watching! Maybe grab some popcorn as well.
The film is based on a New York Times article about a top lawyer for chemical companies who ends up working against his own clients. When he is faced with an ethical dilemma about people and animals being harmed by a mystery chemical in their town’s water supply and rivers, he must make the decision to help the common people and possibly ruin his own career, or to keep on the trodden path and look the other way. This movie hit particularly hard, I think, because of what is still ongoing in Flint, Michigan and their struggles with the contaminated water there.
To begin, this movie certainly has a lot of famous actors, some of whom I had to look up where I knew them from because they were just tip-of-the-tongue familiar. Anne Hathaway played a significant role, as the wife of the main character. She didn’t have a ton of screen time, but when there were scenes where she was a focus, she certainly shined. She played her very emotional role well, and was also a major badass, as we have seen her do before in previous movies. Mark Ruffalo also conveyed his emotional turmoil and increasing stress well, as the movie followed his character into an unending court case that is still going on today. I was also excited to see some smaller roles with actors I really like, including Bill Pullman, William Jackson Harper and Victor Garber.
One thing I thought was difficult to follow was a lot of the lawyer jargon and information that I did not know, not being someone who works in law or business. My parents (who both work in business) definitely had to answer some of my questions about what was going on. I don’t think that it pulled away too much from my understanding of the film overall, but it was certainly helpful to know a lot of the more professional terms and subject matter that were going on during the movie. I think that they brushed over a lot of these important topics, assuming that people watching the movie would know, when in fact this makes the film less accessible to a wider audience who may want to watch it and be able to follow along with all of the plot points.
At the end of the movie, before the credits, the film included information about the real case that is still being fought, and about the real people involved. Some of them even had cameos in the movie, which was really cool to see. It also made the case all the more real, and made me continue to think about a few of the more standout themes that were outlined in the movie. The fact that major companies are really not working for us, but for their own gain, and will do anything to keep their cash flowing is quite scary, and this movie certainly brought that to light in a very stark and obvious way. It also made me think about what harmful chemicals could be still allowed into our food and everyday household items, that we could be ingesting every day. This movie was certainly thought provoking, and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of social advocacy and fighting for the people.