North Country


When North Country hit cinemas, much was made of Charlize Theron grubbing up to play the part of Josey Aimes. Was it going to be a case of 'twice ugly, twice rewarded with an Oscar'? Um, no. Charlize lost to Reese Witherspoon and the miserabilists moaned that simply slapping on a mullet and thick glasses was no route to glory. That's a little harsh, as Theron is quietly impressive here, with less of the gimmicky, beautiful-ugly Monster stylings. Determined to earn a decent wage, her downtrodden single mum calmly weathers the gropes, put-downs and sexist snipes from colleagues at a remote taconite mining plant in Minnesota. But when she's nearly raped, Aimes gets mad as hell and decides she's not gonna take it any more...

Strong support from Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand lend the meandering action a little class, but we're slogging over ground covered by Silkwood and Norma Rae 20 years ago. Any credibility built up by Theron's unshowy performance is blasted away in a beyond-stupid final 20 minutes of cartoonish courtroom hand-holding.

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