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North Country

A movie directed by Niki Caro

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Charlize Theron dresses down again, somewhat, as Josie Aimes.

  • Jun 19, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+3
I could say that this movie is good because of cast reasons and there's some things in this movie you can't miss. But being good for cast reasons doesn't make a film good; "North Country" is a regular piece. The only problem with films taken from real life events is that they need to be true to the time and space where those events occurred. Director, Nikki Caro, seems to be more worried about getting tears out of our eyes than about showing us she's directing something that actually happened.

The conclusion she achieves, or the result, is something more or less like the movie "Whale Rider", a moving picture which has a lot of predictable speeches and cheesy moments. Again, I couldn't buy them, and I'm beginning to believe Nikki Caro gives too little credit to the viewers; she underestimates them. I always accept the usual scenes if I feel them and I can go with them; I couldn't here. Where she didn't fail was in acting direction. She got an Oscar nomination out of a thirteen-year old and she could probably get it out of a first born.

Charlize Theron's emotional ability has grown over the years, but you have to watch her to understand. In "Trapped" she'd showed her emotion in an inspired way, "Head in the Clouds"; she was quite amazing but in "North Country" her emotion power took to the highest level. She easily achieves the correct amount of emotion in every scene she is and shines in. Charlize gives a finely-wrought, gripping performance; she shows her guts, fear, and bravery, but I'm not sure how convincing she is as mother to an older teenage boy (it seems a little soon for Charlize, and the same can be said for Sissy Spacek as the proverbial salt-of-the-earth grandmother).Woody Harrelson was passable as Charlize's lawyer because he wasn't convincing to me in the court room but only outside the court. The surprise performance comes from Richard Jenkins, making a scene we are used to a little more convincing and strong. The man's look is confident. Supporting characters--like Frances McDormand's dump truck driver--do not get enough quality screen-time to completely validate the time which they do have.

The over-emotional finale is also questionable (You would think that they haven't been in a courtroom before), but it does provide the audience with the release it needs. Technically, the movie leaves nothing to hope for (Nikki Caro makes the mines look beautiful after she did it with the whales), but I'm hoping for something different from Nikki Caro and her next project other than that it's a good film.

Does the film show all sides and give both the men and the women a fair shake? Probably not, but it's not a man-hater movie either, and since it's told from the female protagonist's point of view, Charlize endurance against certain men is the focal point here. Ultimately, "North Country" is about Josie Aimes courage and strength dealing with the mine. Charlize Theron was able to express this extremely well and ended up being recognize by the Oscar's once again.

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More North Country reviews
review by . December 19, 2008
I bought North Country because it was on sale for about $3 and because it's similar in theme to Erin Brockovich in that it chronicles a group of people's struggle to bring a large company to justice.     However, this film just didn't cut it for me. Basically, for 80% of the movie, you follow the main character and her own personal struggles (starting over after a divorce) and a group of female employees' struggle with controlling sexual harassment at work. Yet, unlike Erin Brockovich, …
review by . August 20, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Thinking 'North Country' would not live up to the hype, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself so involved in the thick of a gripping gender drama. Alternating between the witness stand and the reenactment of the recall of the plaintiff, the film focuses on the life of Josie Aimes, (Charlize Theron) with her groundbreaking story of sexual harassment. Living on the iron range of Minnesota, the lifestyle of everyone bears all the elements with true grit. Josie, who finds her ex- unbearable and …
review by . May 17, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Somewhat compelling story      Cons: An issue difficult to care about explained in a haphazard way      The Bottom Line: I recommend the film for people who like issue movies; if you don't, nothing is compelling in this one for you.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      First there was Norma Rae then there was Silkwood. The first movie was about a woman’s …
review by . July 24, 2006
What a curious beast is the homo sapien -- of either gender. And yet at some point in our lives, if we are to be honest, haven't we all ducked behind some wall of safety, even when it means an increase to our own suffering? It is one of the more shadowy sides of human nature. We are hurt, and yet when our peers, equally hurt alongside us, we still side with an enemy rather than confront the unspeakable. History is filled to bursting with such cases.    "North Country," directed …
review by . February 23, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
NORTH COUNTRY is a tough movie to watch - and that is why it is so fine and important. The story exudes out of the characters surrounding the first class action suit for sexual harassment in the workplace and it would be difficult to imagine a more dour and gritty depiction of what women iron miners faced in Northern Minnesota than that director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) has molded out of Clara Bingham's book and Michael Seitzman's screenplay. Though overly long (in excess of two hours) the film does …
About the reviewer
Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
Ranked #83
Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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A sterling cast and vivid direction giveNorth Countryan emotional heft to match its political convictions. Charlize Theron (Monster) plays Josey Aimes, who goes to work at a Minnesota steel mine after splitting with her violent husband.
Frances McDormand and Charlize
Theron in North Country.
But the job proves to be almost as harrowing as her marriage; the male miners, resentful of women taking jobs, verbally abuse and play humiliating pranks on the female miners. After being physically assaulted by a coworker, Josey tries to fight against the harassment, but none of the other women will join her case for fear that things will only get worse.North Country, directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), makes the women's experience palpable for the audience without overdoing it. But the lawsuit is only part of the movie; the gut impact ofNorth Countrycomes from the devastating effect the lawsuit has on Josey's family, friends, and coworkers--thanks to an incredible ensemble cast that includes Sissy Spacek (In the Bedroom), Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings), Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under), Woody Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt), and the always powerful Frances McDormand (Fargo,Mississippi Burning). The courtroom histrionics don't always ring true, but the family conflict is riveting and deeply moving. Based on the bookClass Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law. --Bret Fetzer

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