North Country (Mining Movie – 2005)

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North Country is a 2005 American drama film directed by Niki Caro. The screenplay by Michael Seitzman was inspired by the 2002 book Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law by Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler, which chronicled the case of Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Company.


In 1989, Josey (Charlize Theron), returns to her hometown in Northern Minnesota with her children, Sam (Thomas Curtis) and Karen (Elle Peterson), after escaping from her abusive husband. She moves in with her parents, Alice (Sissy Spacek) and Hank (Richard Jenkins). Hank is ashamed of Josey, who became pregnant at the age of 16, and believes that this was the result of Josey being promiscuous.

The townspeople believe the same, which causes them not to allow Josey to blend in. Her only friends are Kyle Dodge (Sean Bean) and his wife Glory (Frances McDormand), who works at the local iron mines (the town’s main source of income) and they promise to get Josey a job there. They also allow Josey to stay at their place with her children, due to Josey’s bad relationship with her father.

Josey quickly befriends the other female workers at the mine, which include Glory, Sherry (Michelle Monaghan) and Big Betty (Rusty Schwimmer), and becomes the target of provocations spearheaded by Bobby Sharp (Jeremy Renner), Josey’s high school boyfriend who also works at the mine. Her attempts to stop the provocations by reporting it to the mine’s higher-up only worsen it, and soon all the women are being verbally and physically abused by men at the factory. Josey is also sexually harassed by many of them, including Bobby.

Josey’s refusal in giving in on her male co-workers’ demands causes them to spread lies about her being promiscuous and trying to seduce them, which cause Josey to be further segregated not only by her father and the men’s wives, but also by Sam, who starts believing that his mother is indeed promiscuous after discovering that he was the result of her teenage pregnancy.

After even the mine’s board of directors refuses to hear Josey’s complaints about the way women are treated at the mine, she quits and asks Bill White (Woody Harrelson), a friend of Kyle and Glory and also a lawyer – to help her file a lawsuit against the company. Bill tells her that the best way to win a case like this is by convincing the other women to back up her statements in court. The women, however, are hesitant, as this would mean risking their jobs, and refuse. Josey also discovers that Glory has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Hank is disappointed by Josey’s decision, and Alice leaves him, tired of hearing him criticizing their daughter for something that was not her fault. Hank later attends a union meeting. Josey appears, hoping to address the miners and explain her reasons for suing the mine. When they refuse to hear her and start verbally abusing her, Hank stands up for his daughter and reprimands his co-workers for their rude treatment of Josey and all the women at the factory.

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