Erin Brockovich

Topics: Social class, Class action, Erin Brockovich Pages: 2 (607 words) Published: December 11, 2005
In the film Erin Brockovich, a poor single-mother, Erin, begs for a job as a secretary. When she gets interested in a family's medical problems, she uncovers a huge cover-up from a company who knowingly contaminated the town's water. As she digs deeper, Erin finds herself leading her law firm in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history. Research on audiences suggests that social positions affect interpretations. It acts as a central mediator of the interpretive process – not as a factor that influences the meaning but as a key provider of the resources we use to decode media message. A viewer's understanding of a film requires particular knowledge of the standards of the environment that is being portrayed in the film and the workings of the culture. The way a viewer gets meaning out of a film depends on assumptions about relationships, parents and children, and, as I would argue we see in Erin Brockovich, rich and the poor. After viewing Erin Brockovich my reaction and interpretation was filled with frustration that corporate America has such a hold on other Americans. I was pleased with the ending that Erin worked her way up, through hard work and determination, to a solid job and could support her family. This is an interpretation from a middle-class, white, educated female. These characteristics are essentially my cultural "tools" for forming my opinion about the film. My social position provides a frame through which I see the world and films, like Erin Brockovich, and hence, making some things visible and other more difficult to see. However, let's say my "tools" were different. If I had the profile of a low-class, uneducated, single-mother, what would my interpretation of the film be? I would see the film only portraying one thing: two of America's most hated professions (lawyers and corporations) on top of the economic survival chain. In the film the victims, who happen to be the profile described above, end up with...
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