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Bluntly speaking? North Country is an insta-classic

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Sean on the Red Carpet for North Country at TIFFNorth Country

starring: Charize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sissy Spacek, Jeremy Renner, Richard Jenkins, Sean Bean and Michelle Monaghan
Directed by: Niki Caro
Music by: Gustavo Santaolalla

Bluntly speaking? North Country is an insta-classic in the vein of a Norma Rae expo-drama. It's a heavy tearjerker that'll have you cheering its predictable but none-the-less triumphant end. Star Charlize Theron sneaks into your heart and demands you listen to the story, while her co-star Frances McDormand has you awe struck, as usual, at her abilities - this aint your mom's chick flick. And, North Country is more than an award trolling piece - it's a gem steered by Theron and McDormand that takes several true-life tales, molded into one chick, and creates a helluva film.

Story goes... it's 1989 and Minnesotain Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) is one of those forgotten women of abuse. She's finally had enough and somehow -from within - found the strength to move out.

But she's not moving up just yet in our film. She heads home to her parents. On top of the usual self-doubting bits that would ordinarily occur with this dread inducing defeated backwards life-step comes her small-town-sordidpast. Seems she was a teenage unwed mom and here that's just a plain old unforgivable scandal...

But, again she perseveres. Having no luck finding comfort at "home," she and her two children move in with her old friend Glory (Frances McDormand) and her noble steed-style sporting incre-beau (Sean Bean). Glory also helps Josey by telling her "the mines are hiring."

The mines...yep, precisely what your mind's eye suspects - except this was when women were still sexually harassed and considered diesel dykes if they dare to do a traditionally manly-man job. Not to mention jobs were scarce, so these gals were the trifecta of evil as far as these guys were concerned.

You can see were this is going. We've learned Josey is rebirthing. She's done takin' bull-crap, and she's beautiful; not exactly the perfect work environment for the gal. But, the pay is the best in the area and her kids come first...

Faster then you can say, "Whoa - They gave David Spade a show of his own?" The boys of grime and blasting start really misbehavin' and showing their underbelly of manpiggy pink. It's not easy to watch these gals being abused in multiple ways - at all.

Josey stands up for herself - and the other women, who till then kinda figured the verbal and physical shenanigans came with the job (shudder). Ultimately North Country is about a woman's stand, her strength and her just wanting a better her life for her, and her children. But, North Country is also based on a true story; a mixture of many women miner tales - and that year up there on the flash-card upon the screen is 1989, not 1889. The film's story exposes the events (dramatized) leading up to the real-life first class action sexual harassment law suit by women miners - it changed the work environment for those who'd come after them - and women in all areas of work. So, it's very emotional at times.

Charlize Theron is a stunning gal. Not just physically, but in her ability to remask herself for her craft. No doubt this heart-heavy drama will get her more then a few nods next spring. She's a true talent.

Speaking of talent. Ms. Frances McDormand, as Glory, Josey's pal, hands in another of her perfect performances. I want like a Lynard Skynard-style poster of this chick in my office; she's a rock star of film man - Live at the Providence Coliseum: Mega-McDormand w/ Poison LIVE!

Woody Harrelson shows as the city slicker attorney set among the muck. And Jeremy Renner, as manswine-n-miner-with-a-secret Bobby Sharp, will have you reaching for your EMPB (emergency-movie-puke-bag), his performance is incredible - keep an eye on this fella...still the girls Theron, McDormand , Michelle Monaghan, Sissy Spacek and all the she-miners own this film! What a nice change eh? Actually, there aint a looker in the lot male-cast-wise. I stand corrected. The husband of McDormand is a studly-doright Kyle, played by yumkitten mansicle Sean Bean. But, the others you'll find heavily sprinkled about the celluloid are putrid specimens (both physically and character-ish) makes a gal thank gawd it's just a film...

North Country's look is remarkable thanks to director Niki Caro, production designer Richard Hoover and cinematographer Chris Menges - you are there among the smell, the sweat and anguish running through the film - and the lighter life moments too, ring true. Enjoy.

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