Anthony's Film Review
North Country (2005)
Performances and script are decent, but the true story at least keeps the film alive...
There's a reason we have laws against sexual harassment and sexual assault. When men do not respect women, do anything to satisfy their own sexual desires, and have more physical power than women, it presents a very unfair and shameful situation. It's an insult and a disgrace to half of the human population. And such laws are made possible by a landmark sexual harassment lawsuit filed in the 1980s by female miners in Northern Minnesota. The film North Country is inspired by this true story with the names and other facts changed.
Charlize Theron seems to be one of those actresses who finds more importance in roles that emphasize character rather than physical appearance. She even goes as far as to have makeup downgrading her appearance instead of enhancing it. She plays Josey Aimes, a mother who takes her two children and runs away from her abusive husband. Though she does find shelter with her parents, she needs a new job to make a living. She takes a job as a miner, made possible because of mandates for hiring women in mining companies.
But that does not mean the women are treated fairly. On the contrary, it's far from that. Josey and the other few female miners there face constant harassment from the men. There are scenes of male workers making sexual comments and jokes at the women. There are also some examples of more awful treatment towards them (Note: graphic details follow), including semen in a locker, a dildo in a lunchbox, and derogatory words written on walls with fecal material. Speaking of explicit content, I must warn you that there is a rape scene in this movie. It's not totally explicit, but it's very suggestive enough to disturb anyone, especially those who can relate to this.
The other part of this movie is the legal drama. It's presented in clips in between the remaining scenes and several minutes at the end. Woody Harrelson plays the lawyer whom Josey eventually hires to help file a class action lawsuit against the mining company. In my opinion, there wasn't anything too special about the courtroom drama, but it wasn't too boring either. I do like how some of the characters seem to come together as one. And the scene also has a surprise twist that actually did shock me a little and made me truly understand how hard it is to be a woman in a chauvinistic male world.
I thought the film was decent enough to maintain my interest. The performances by Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, and Frances McDormand give personality to their characters. North Country tells such a good story that it could get nominated for an Oscar or Golden Globe award. But no matter what you think of the movie, one thing is certain. The subject of the film is something to think real hard about, even as we are making progress towards a better society.
For more information about North Country, visit the Internet Movie Database.