North Country is a 2005 drama film directed by Niki Caro and inspired by a real-life class action lawsuit from 1988.
The story begins with Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) leaving her abusive husband with her two children. Because she has no job perspectives, she is forced to move back in with her parents in her Minnesota hometown. There she meets her old friend Glory (Frances McDormand), who helps her get a job at the local iron mine and lets Josey and her children stay with her and her husband Kyle (Sean Bean).
On her first day at work, Josey is harassed by her co-worker and old high school boyfriend (Jeremy Renner). Josey quickly finds out that the female workers are being verbally and physically abused by men who feel like they are taking away their jobs. When Josey refuses to keep quiet like the rest of the women, things get ugly for her.
The title is based on the Bob Dylan song "Girl from the North Country".
This film shows examples of:
- Amoral Attorney: Slightly averted. The lawyer representing the mine comes off as this at first, but it's later revealed that she's just doing her job and actually wants the mine to take a plea because she knows the loss will be great.
- Based on a True Story: In 1988, the first class-action sexual harassment lawsuit in the U.S. was filed on behalf of Lois Jenson and other female workers against the EVTAC iron mine.
- Child by Rape: Josey's son Sammy was born as a result of her rape at the hands of one of her high school teachers. He's unaware of this until she reveals the truth when her past is brought up in an attempt to discredit her during the trial.
- Dirty Coward: Josey's high school boyfriend witnessed her being raped by the teacher, but panicked and never told anyone, even when the whole town shamed her for having a baby out of wedlock. Lampshaded when Kyle refers to him as a "Yellow Ice" player in hockey compared to a "Red Ice" one who'd stay and fight.
- Nice Guy: Kyle (Sean Bean Playing Against Type) and Bill.
- Parental Substitute: Kyle becomes one to Sammy towards the end.
- Shaming the Mob: Hank calls out all of the mine workers for disrespecting Josey at the meeting.
- Slut-Shaming: Josey is shunned by the town for her out-of-wedlock pregnancy and is still so when she returns to town years later — even the lawyer representing the mine brings this up during the trial. Her supposed bad reputation makes it easy for the townspeople to side against her when she files the lawsuit.
- Teen Pregnancy: Josey was 16 when she had her son. Who was the result of Josey having been raped by her high school teacher.