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North Country

7/10
Drama
 

A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States -- Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit.

 
Actors: Charlize Theron , Elle Peterson , Thomas Curtis , Frances McDormand , Sean Bean , Woody Harrelson , Amber Heard , Jeremy Renner , Richard Jenkins , Sissy Spacek
Directors: Niki Caro
Country: USA
Release: 2005-10-21
More Info:
  • Roger Ebert

    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.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Bill Gallo

    Happily, North Country is not all social-realist grit or straight sermonizing. Not only is Theron achingly real, the fine supporting performances here lend even more dramatic reach and human scale.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    A classic social drama in the proud tradition of "Norma Rae," "Silkwood" and "Erin Brockovich."

    New York Post Full Review
  • Carrie Rickey

    What gives North Country urgency is that it's about how a man comes to understand that it's bad for him and for his community to deny his daughter privileges and prerogatives he'd grant his son.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    It infuriated me. It broke my heart. It convinced me that Caro, who's from New Zealand, is a strong, clear-voiced filmmaker

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Tasha Robinson

    The story of America's first successful class-action sexual-harassment lawsuit may sound dull, but Caro ratchets up the intensity until every flung epithet and threat stings. The approach is sometimes shrill, but it's effective.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Powerful and then some.

    Slate Full Review
  • David Rooney

    An emotionally potent story told with great dignity.

    Variety Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    An engrossing, well-crafted story of a grave injustice avenged, hitting all the right notes of sympathy, outrage and, finally, relief.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    Charlize Theron, in nonglam mode, dominates this powerful drama about sexual harassment at a Minnesota iron ore mine in the early 90s.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    A welcome and appropriate treat is the flurry of Bob Dylan tunes that can be heard playing in the background of this northern Minnesota story.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Despite its serious subject matter, North Country is a crowd-pleaser at heart.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    North Country may be a simplistic account of a hard-won battle, but it will have audiences cheering.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Ruthe Stein

    Richard Jenkins gives the standout supporting performance, worthy of Oscar consideration, as Josey's father, a miner unable to conceal his anger at his daughter for having a child out of wedlock and, now, creating dissension at his workplace.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Mike Clark

    The milieu here is unforgiving, which makes fighting for basic rights important. You get a sense of why Bob Dylan -- who performs on this soundtrack -- wanted to bolt this frigid part of the map.

    USA Today Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Stirring and emotionally forceful.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Stephen Saito

    There is something almost reverential about the way director Niki Caro shoots the winding roads leading into Minnesota's North Country mining community, just before dismantling all of it piece by piece.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Might have been richer, tougher, more honestly liberal if it had revealed a few more shades of gray among the men.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • William Arnold

    Overcooked and simplistic in spots.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    The issue of sexual politics so dominates the story that it's a relief when an emotional showdown involves family rather than workplace issues. Not so surprisingly, these are the movie's best scenes.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    The problem with Seitzman's script is how predictable almost all of it feels.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    The movie’s old-school feminism is true to its subject, and Theron proves charismatic enough to stand alone as an emblematic working-class heroine doing what she has to do without benefit of feminist theory. I’m even willing to forgive this rousing drama its coy, flirty ending, if only because its heroine has the grace not to drive her pickup truck off a cliff.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • David Ansen

    Frances McDormand, as the lone female union rep, and Richard Jenkins, as Josie’s angry miner dad, cut through the predictability.

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    You cannot help being stirred by the reach and depth, the constant rebuffs to sloppiness, of a strong ensemble.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Stanley Kauffmann

    But the contrast between setting and story isn't all that bars North Country from fulfillment. The major trouble is Theron. She plays Josey as well as is needed, but she is simply too beautiful.

    The New Republic Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Harrelson does his considerable best to redeem the hackneyed role of the dreamboat do-gooder. No matter how conventional his roles may be, he always gives them a feral quality, an eccentricity, that lifts them out of the ordinary.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Caro stumbles in a couple ways. By flashing forward throughout the film to scenes of the climactic courtroom showdown, she blunts the story's dramatic impact.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    At best, North Country just inspires you to read the book.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Jessica Reaves

    A potentially great movie--with talent and plot points to spare--that settles for being just okay.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Stephen Cole

    For all North Country's blockbuster elements, the film remains a curiously uninvolving affair.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    North Country resorts to theatrics a judge would squelch after one outburst, as director Niki Caro and writer Michael Seitzman aim for a "Spartacus" feel.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Pete Vonder Haar

    An above average film, and features fine performances (Theron and McDormand are probably stone locks for more Oscar nominations), but be wary of the advertising pointing out the film's similarities to movies like "Erin Brockovich."

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Jessica Winter

    Having established Josey as the focus of the entire iron range's enmity, the filmmakers panic, and North Country spectacularly self-destructs in a climactic courtroom free-for-all.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    To see this overly schematic movie, is to be made to feel -- inaccurately as it turns out -- that the whole thing is a hopelessly exaggerated fabrication. The taint of the melodramatic techniques used in key segments infects the entire movie and makes us question the truth of a significant historical reality.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    That the film works as well as it does, delivering a tough first hour only to disintegrate like a wet newspaper, testifies to the skill of the filmmakers as well as to the constraints brought on them by an industry that insists on slapping a pretty bow on even the foulest truth.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Any similarities between Josey and Lois Jenson, the real woman who made Eveleth Mines pay for their sins in a landmark 1988 class-action suit, are purely coincidental. Instead, we get a TV-movie fantasy of female empowerment glazed with soap-opera theatrics.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Ken Fox

    What should have been an important addition to popular films about women's rights winds up being the most insulting courtroom drama since "Ally McBeal" was put out of its misery.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Angie Errigo

    It starts off well enough but slowly sinks under the leaden weight of its worthiness.

    Empire Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    A long, slow slog through what could have been, and should have been, a more absorbing story.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
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1