“Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you.
You’re a monster. I saw your Oscar-winning role.”

That Gal of Mine

Welcome to “North Country,” a hotbed of women degradation in northern Minnesota. It’s where you’ll find Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) – a beauty with an ugly history of men. Her husband hits her. Her father is ashamed of her. Her son distrusts her. And in the mines where she works, her male co-workers despise her. What has she done to deserve this male antagonism? I’ll get to the answer…… after the (paragraph) break. (Cue American Idol theme).

Overall, I found the movie stirring to watch. While it can be slow, it is Theron’s superb acting that moves you throughout the movie. And it helps that her friend is portrayed by Frances McDormand, in all her plucky glory. Towards the last hour, the film really picks up when Josey sues the mining company for sexual harassment. However, the ending was expected and even worse, its execution was a cliché. Even Spartacus would stand up and agree with me on that one.

But here’s what irks me more. I bought into that “North Country” world and amassed disgust towards it. But as I reflect and write this review now, I realize that the “inspired by a true story” disclaimer threw me. It’s clear now that “North Country” is still largely a fiction. While the historic class action lawsuit is true, Josey Aimes is neither a real person nor a realistic representation of the female miners. So why does Josey have to be so mistreated by men? She’s the movie’s heroine and in order for us to get addicted, she needs guys to be bad guys. How else can she be heroic or saintly?

Except for two good guys, all men in the movie are either creeps or cowards. When you generalize like that, the film takes some form of propaganda. I do feel tricked, but if I wasn’t, I would have not enjoyed the movie. So I’m conflicted here. I don’t like the way the movie stir us up to be judgmental of men and the Midwest in general. On the other hand, you have to go along if you want to benefit from this solid drama. It’s too bad that a film this good commits the same crime it condemns by degrading men in its depiction.

Grade: B+

Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sean Bean, Woody Harrelson, Sissy Spacek, Richard Jenkins, Jeremy Renner, Michelle Monaghan
Screenplay by
Michael Seitzman
Based on the book Class Action: The Story of Lois Jensen and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law by
Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy
Directed by
Niki Caro
Rated R for violence and dialogue relating to sexual harrassment, and for language