Monday, June 11, 2007

North Country...very strong

North Country - Niki Caro - 2005 - 9/10


Charlize Theron plays Josey Aimes, a single mother trying to run from her past, her present and run into a new future. A future where she is planning on making a lot of money from her new job at the mine. The mine however, has yet to warm to the idea of having women in the mine, and the men are less than welcoming. In fact, they're downright ridiculous - writing profane patriarchal slurs on the walls along with lewd pictures are the little things they do. They talk to the women harshly, physically harass them, sabotage their bathroom, leave dildos in their lunches, beat them...the list goes on. Josey's dad, Hank (Richard Jenkins) who has worked at the mine since he was a kid, is not exactly supportive. Whether its giving her a hard time about leaving her husband (who was beating her) or how she's foolish to think she's as good as he is, he doesn't exactly inspire her. While not critical, Josey's mother Alice (Sissy Spacek) is far from comforting. Josey finally turns to her best friend (Frances McDormand) and her husband (Sean Bean) who helped her get into this mess, but they're dealing with personal issues. To make things worse, a dance with a co-worker stirs up the local women into making a scene and embarassing Josey's son Sammy (Thomas Curtis) who starts to hate his mother. As things continue to get worse and Josey has no one to turn to, she meets Bill White (Woody Harrelson), a lawyer who becomes her one ray of hope


Charlize proves that she doesn't have to dress down, put on the pounds and make out with a girl to turn in an Oscar-worthy performance. Furthermore, the film is close to, if not the best of its genre. The acting is great, the story is strong, and the film itself doesn't disappoint. Like I already said, Charlize is great, but so too is McDormand who returns to the country she knew before as Oscar territory. The movie does have some problems. For starters, the movie is totally killing - I liked the splicing of the court room scenes, the flashbacks, all that is going well until the last twenty minutes or so when they get to the court room for real time and the court scenes are unrealistic and borderline corny. At least Erin Brockovich spared us a cheesy court room scene. Additionally, the growth of the characters, especially Josey and Josey's son Sammy is very realistic, but the sudden changes in Josey's Mom and Dad as well as Bobby's is unpredictable and unlikely. The ending sort of lets itself become a warm and fuzzy happy ending, which kind of was what really happened, but it seemed unrealistic.


If you're looking for a serious movie, this should be close to the top of the list.

If you liked this movie, watch...
...Erin Brockovich
...A Civil Action
...The Pursuit of Happyness

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