March 2, 2006
North Country has the tried and tested formula that makes for a winning heart-wrenching drama. It’s a touching movie with the typical underdog protagonist emerging victorious in the end after seemingly suffering all the misfortunes that life could bring.
Charlize Theron plays Josey, a battered wife who left her husband for good after his last beating on her. She then joined her friend Glory to work for the iron mines to support her two children. And from there started a series of clichés that nevertheless kept the viewers glued to their screens, probably holding back tears as well for Josey’s fate.
At a time when women employees are not yet protected against sexual harassment in their work environments, Josey, along with her fellow lady miners, were continually harassed by their men compatriots in the mine. First cliché arises as Josey bravely complained about the ill-fitting working conditions to the management. Without the support of the labor union of course, her complaint came to nothing. Second cliché came when she struggled to convince at least three of her lady colleagues to attest in court for a class action lawsuit to pursue. Third cliché happened in a very dramatic scene in court when a seemingly hopeless case had a turn around, and suddenly women rose to their seats one by one in support of Josey. And as a drama cliché movie goes, Josey later on won the case, and a provision against sexual harassment was immediately drafted. All those who misunderstood Josey in the end understood her. Hearts of stone turned hearts of gold.
While there’s nothing new to expect to North Country, Charlize Theron still gave a splendid performance. It’s still a movie worth catching when it opens on March 22 :) If for anything, I guess the ladies would better appreciate the movie and feel thankful that there are now laws protecting women from various sexual assaults. As a woman, I have wondered not a few times how it’s like to be maltreated by men and not be able to do anything about it. As a woman, I feel for the ladies who suffer the stigma of rape even twenty years after. After watching the movie, I felt glad to be alive at a time when women could openly fight for equal rights and could not be abused as easily as before.