Top positive review
Good movie. Many realistic features mixed nicely with movie drama.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 10, 2022
In the 1970s and 1980s personal injury law expanded into new areas. Cancer lawsuits that tried to link industrial pollution with individual cancer cases like the ones in Woburn MA were big news. This movie focuses on the personal competition between Jan Schlichtman (playbed by John Travolta) and several large law firm attorneys (Jerome Facher, played by Robert Duvall) and does a good job of taking highlights from the non-fiction book by John Harr (many people prefer the book). The large law firm lawyers working for the dry cleaning chemicals company (WR Grace) and the tannery (Beatrice) tried to show that soil and geology near the Woburn's town wells would have blocked toxic chemical pollution. For what was essentially a very technical matter there were many dramatic moments in this film.
The relation of big industry to middle class families is a powerful theme, and part of what makes this movie very good. When law firms mediate between the middle class and Fortune 500 companies the results are mixed. The way lawyers creatively pursue their client's stated goals or legal services contracts is also a good theme, how many financial resources come in play, is both a message of hope and a warning for all sorts of clients, plaintiffs, and defendants.