Charlize Theron, North Country

No true story is presented on screen without augmentation, but you hate to see the melodrama treatment applied where it’s not needed. Charlize Theron and France McDormand (who both earned Oscar nods) and Six Feet Under‘s Richard Jenkins are spot-on in North Country, this affecting account of a landmark sexual harassment case brought against a Minnesota mine. Director Niki Caro demonstrates a sure hand with grounded authenticity, but implausible witness reversals and a frothy Josey-teaches-her-son-to-drive denouement undercut the story’s significance. EXTRAS Deleted scenes fill in Josey’s less noble side (harshly reprimanding her son, throwing a tantrum outside the courtroom), while a doc including interviews with the cast and crew, National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy, and the real plaintiffs reveals that the case took 14 years to settle, that there were more good men than transgressors at the mine, and that the see-no-evil execs are gone. McDormand lauds the movie for being ”connected to emotional truths” but ”not sentimental,” and Caro says, ”The best this film can do is start a conversation.” But ultimately, feel-good Hollywood instincts dilute a lively discussion.

North Country
  • Movie
  • 123 minutes