'Dark Waters' reveals story of lawyer who risks life to do ‘Christian thing,’ exposes chemical giant

Dark Waters
Focus features film, "Dark Waters"

The film “Dark waters” hit theaters nationwide last weekend and is inspired by the true story of lawyer Robert Bilott who lived out his Catholic convictions. 

The Focus Features film is based on The New York Times magazine article "The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare" by Nathaniel Rich. It closely follows the lawyer played by actor Mark Ruffalo as he “uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths due to one of the world's largest chemical corporations. In the process, he risks everything — his future, his family, and his own life — to expose the truth,” the film’s synopsis says.

“Dark Waters” details Bilott’s professional career from receiving a promotion at his law firm that defends chemical companies to his noble transition to defending a farmer whose livelihood and family is being harmed by one of the chemical companies his law firm represents.

"DuPont is knowingly poisoning 70,000 local residents for the last 40 years," Bilott (Ruffalo) tells his wife (Anne Hathaway) in the film.

His efforts helped the farmer expose how the chemical giant had been contaminating the drinking water in Parkersburg, West Virginia, with the chemical perfluoroctaonic acid or PFOA. The findings, which took 20 years to be proven in court, resulted in DuPont agreeing to pay $671 million to residents who claimed their health was harmed by the excessive exposure to the toxic chemical used to make Teflon.

Joining Ruffalo on-screen is actress Anne Hathaway who plays Bilott’s wife and No. 1 encourager as he bravely goes up against the industry giants.

“You saw a man hurting and you did the Christian thing,” she says to her husband as he is shown battling discouragement. 

Another scene features Hathaway’s character teaching her sons about the discipleship and teacher relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

“Dark Waters” is a chilling movie that shows the realities faced by people who cannot afford lengthy litigation battles in an attempt to expose corruption. Viewers will leave theaters with the assurance that God alone has to protect His creation in a world where people, when left to their own devices, use their intellect and resources for self-gain regardless of the cause. 

Also featured in the Todd Haynes-directed film are actors Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, and William Jackson. 

The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and a nude scene.

“Dark Waters” is now showing in theaters nationwide.

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