Special guest reviewer: Mr. Smiley!
Mr. Smiley's rating:
Prozacerrific! Wow, I can't feel my feet!
Even though as Mr. Smiley I always look on the bright side of things, I know that sometimes life can be hard. This is the case for the main character in "North Country," played by Charlize Theron. Charlize plays a woman who's kind of having a hard time with life. She's young and has two kids and the movie starts with her getting beat up by her boyfriend and then moving to her parents' house. To make matters worse, they all live in Minnesota.
So Josey, that's her name, wants to make a life for herself, so she applies for a job in the local mines and she gets it! This is where her father, Hank (Richard Jenkins) works, and he's not too happy about having his daughter work there because it's hard and it's generally not a job for women, or at least that's what the male mine workers think.
So before I explain what happens, there are some really important points to make about why this movie is so freakishly wonderful. First, I think that naming the main character Josey is the greatest idea ever. It's a hard film and people need to be reminded to stay optimistic and Josey is obviously named after "Josie and the Pussycats" and that made me so happy because I'm such a big fan of the Archie comics and nobody was ever sexually harassed in the Archie comics. Then there's Richard Jenkins, who's such a great actor, but the fact that he's in this film reminded me of "Six Feet Under," a show that I just love so much I can hardly contain myself and while it's sad that "Six Feet Under" is no longer on HBO, seeing Richard Jenkins brought all these great memories back and it was like I was reliving the show for the first time. Then there's the Minnesota accent. I just love listening to Minnesotans talk with their "ays" and such. It makes even the most vicious and unpleasant dialogue fun.
And here's a bonus point: Frances McDormand plays a female mine worker named Glory and although Glory gets Lou Gehrig's disease and is almost completely immobile by the end of the movie, hearing France do her Minnesota accent brought back all the wonderful memories I had of her performance in "Fargo," which won her an Oscar. Isn't that awesome?
So Josey is sexually harassed and assaulted and her son grows to hate her and she ends up taking the mining company to court and winning! This was based on the first real sexual harassment case in the nation. Her lawyer is Woody Harrelson and I was just so happy for Woody that he got a good role like this one since he really hasn't been doing that much since "Cheers" and the only place I ever see him is on the news. Now I won't kid you about the content of this film, because there are a lot of tough moments, but you just know that director Niki ("Whale Rider") Caro wouldn't tell this story if there wasn't a happy ending. And you know what? There is!
North of happiness is elation and north of elation is "North Country."
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