Sunday, February 12, 2006

Movie Review: North Country

North Country is the fictionalised account of the first major successful sexual harrassment case in the United States - Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines. Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) has left her husband after he has physically abused her. Along with her two children, she returns to stay with her parents in Northern Minnesota and finally gets a job in the local mines which is dominated by men, including her father, who are ruthlessly sexist and often highly misogynist in their approach to life. Josey is desperate to to earn her living to support her family while suffering an array of demoralizing abuses. Hers are considerably worse than what other women who work at the mine have suffered (although they are bad enough) because she begins to speak out about the harrassment, initially trying to deal with it within the management structures of the mine. Her foreman responds by telling her 'work hard, keep your mouth shut and take it like a man.' Finally, things become too much and she decides to take the mining company to court in a civil action. To do so she needs the support of a number of other women who are extremely reluctant to do so. I was deeply moved at the climax of the movie and Charlize Theron, who really acts rather than rely on her beautiful appearance, brillliantly portrays the profound effects of harrassment on women. She is completely authentic in this portrait of an oppressed woman who stands up against the Power of the company. Her supporting cast are also excellent including Sissy Spacek as her mother. The narrative thread consists of the court case leading up to the successful application for the class action with a series of flashbacks that explain the events. This is an important film, particularly when we realise that the events only took place in the late 80s and the case only finalised in the early 90s. Harassment of women in the workplace is an ongoing problem and needs to be exposed and dealt with. North Country will, hopefully, be a powerful witness to this problem that so many women face silently. My Rating: ****1/2 (out of 5) Positive Review 'After "Monster," here is another extraordinary role from an actress [Theron] who has the beauty of a fashion model but has found resources within herself for these powerful roles about unglamorous women in the world of men.' - Roger Ebert/Chicago Sun-Times Negative Review 'It starts off well enough but slowly sinks under the leaden weight of its worthiness.' - Angie Errigo/Empire Content Warning Sexual harassment including violence and dialogue, and for language Related Links

No comments:

Post a Comment