review: North Country

I’ve been thinking about feminism a lot lately. I’ve always been an anti-feminist, because what I saw of that movement was “Anything men can do we can do better” and frankly, that’s just not true. So I sort of rejected the whole movement since it seemed that the whole goal was to emasculate men and justify strident, bitter women as exemplified by Maureen Dowd. I didn’t want a part in that.
But I’ve been thinking more about it, about how women used to be viewed as men’s property, incapable of thinking, much less voting, and I’ve realized how grateful I am for those women who came before me.
So watching North Country last night was good. It wasn’t a feel-good movie by any means. It was more of a bid for another Oscar by Charlize. Regardless, it was interesting to watch. It reminded me of how inherently sinful people are, men and women. It reminded me that people–men, women, minorities–have always had to fight for their right to be treated as human, much less equally. It reminded me that there’s always more to the story, that people aren’t usually telling all they know.
I won’t go into the storyline; you can read that on IMDB. I will say that I thought the supporting cast did an excellent job. Richard Jenkins did an excellent job playing a dad who is ashamed of his daughter, and his is one of my favorite subplots. I loved the anger with which he spoke to those men “Unspeakables!” and his voice broke. Frances McDormand and her husband, played by Sean Bean, provide one of the most touching moments in the movie. The kids also did an excellent job, especially Thomas Curtis as the teenaged son who is ashamed of his mom.
I don’t think the movie entirely communicated the absolute helplessness of the women in the face of harassment. For example: when the outhouse is tipped over, the woman could have turned around, opened the door, and run out. She was still completely wearing her coveralls. If those had been around her knees and she was trapped, not wanting to expose herself, imagine the shot when the outhouse falls over, the door pops open, and shes lying there, curled in a fetal position, trying to shield herself. I thought the courtroom scenes weren’t entirely realistic sometimes, as well. Letting Kyle speak for Glory from the back of the room? Probably not happening.
It was graphic. Crude drawings, language, and actions were abundant. A rape is depicted.
However, overall it was a good movie. Made me think. Made me grateful for people who were willing to stand up, to challenge those who are abusing power.

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~ by wildeyedwonder on November 4, 2005.

One Response to “review: North Country

  1. I wish more people would realize that feminism is not all radical, man-hating rhetoric. Every feminist can define for herself what feminism means to her. The problem with some brands of feminism is that they espouse the same kind of ideas that they claim to hate: that one gender is inherently better than the other. My definition is simple: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” –Cheris Kramerae

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