In this fictionalized account of a landmark sexual harassment case won in 1984 in northern Minnesota, the divorced Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) with her two children moves in with her parents after being beaten again by her husband. Due to a strained relationship with her father, she moves out and finds work at the local mine. But the mines are dominated by men who make life miserable for the scared female employees. The sexual harassment begins on her first day and is nonstop throughout the movie. When Josey complains to the owner of the company, she is angered to find that she has been labeled a promiscuous troublemaker and takes her grievances to court with the aid of a hometown attorney (Woody Harrelson). In the courtroom, she faces stiff opposition and is forced to testify about being raped in high school. Courageously standing alone, Josey hopes that others will eventually join her to finally stop the harassment.
North Country is a powerful film! It is moving and stirs many emotions for those in the audience. Like feeling ashamed to be a white man when watching Mississippi Burning because of all of the unnecessary abuse and cruel treatment blacks faced in our country, North Country made me feel ashamed to be a male. It is so hard for me to understand this kind of mistreatment.
The film reminded me of the line “the truth will set you free” from the Bible. So many people lived in fear and misery because the people at the mine would not face the truth about what was going on. Niki Caro does a marvelous job painting the picture of how harmful sexual harassment can be. I believe this film will be up for several Academy Awards.
Now with all that said, North Country is NOT a family film. The language while not being gratuitous is certainly graphically strong and would not be at all appropriate for kids.