DVD North Country (DVD 6250958),
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This melodrama for the modern age is based on the true story of the first successful sexual harassment case in America. Niki Caro's (WHALE RIDER) inspirational tale traces one woman's determined struggle for independence and equality in a male-dominated environment--a struggle that set a precedent for improved working conditions for women across the country. Charlize Theron plays Josey Aimes, a young mother of two who has just left her abusive husband and returned home to live with her parents (Sissy Spacek and Richard Jenkins). Reconnecting with her old friend Glory (Frances McDormand), she learns of a well-paid job at the mines that would allow her a modicum of independence for the first time in her life. But Josey soon finds out about the drawbacks to the job, as the men mount a war of escalating cruelty against the women, who are expected to "take it like a man." Dildos in lunch boxes, obscene graffiti, and a harrowing episode in a Porta-Potty are just some of the indignities the women have to suffer in silence. Finally, Josey is pushed too far and decides to fight back, but she finds herself hard-pressed to find allies willing to sacrifice their bread and butter. Vilified by her former friends, increasingly abused by male colleagues, and estranged from her son and also from Glory, Josey nonetheless decides to sue the company. She is aided by exiled New York lawyer and former local sports star Bill White (Woody Harrelson). As in all successful melodrama, good and evil are clearly marked, with the powerful corporation and the male workers the unmitigated bad guys. However, this makes Josey's courage and strength, as well as the scope of what she accomplished, stand out in even starker contrast.
Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Thomas Curtis, Sean Bean, Sissy Spacek, Mary, Elizabeth Spacek, Richard Jenkins, Jim Cada, Rusty Schwimmer
"Theron plays Josey with an honorable slow-burn weariness..." -- Grade: B
"NORTH COUNTRY conveys what it's like to be a small-town social pariah and to fear for yourself in the workplace. It even says a little something about the refuge and sanctity of a neighborhood tavern."
"NORTH COUNTRY could be this generation's NORMA RAE....[A] stirring tale of female empowerment, set in the harsher regions of the American heartland."
Movieline's Hollywood Life
4 stars out of 5 -- "Caro successfully captures a sense of community dynamic, and contrasts the forbidding landscape with Josie's inner resolve."
"Charlize Theron gives a compelling performance....Theron is never anything but believable."
Sight and Sound
3 stars out of 5 -- "Theron is quietly impressive here....[With] strong support from Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand..."
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