Catching up with the Renners: North Country

And a lovely good morning to LaLaLand, even if you guys won’t tell me who my mysterious North Hollywood visitors are! 😀

The first time I rented North Country, I wanted to see it for Sean Bean. This film had two rare occasions for the man from Sheffield; one, he didn’t sport his native accent (which he did even on the London stage where I saw him as Macbeth), and two, he wasn’t going to die. In fact, he didn’t even play a baddie. That role more or less falls to Jeremy Renner as Bobby Sharp. But let’s start at the beginning:

In this fictional tale based on true events, the incredibly talented Charlize Theron portrays Josey Aimes, mother of two, who leaves her husband because he beats her and moves back to her hometown in Minnesota to start over. From her friend Glory (Frances McDormand) she finds out that the local ironworks now hires women (this is in the early 80s, where the actual story began in the mid-Seventies). Against the wishes of her father and facing stiff opposition from most men and women in the community, Josey and a handful of other women begin their new jobs at the mine. Soon, they find themselves targets of crude jokes and daily harrassment by their co-workers. Aforementioned Bobby Sharp, Josey’s ex-highschool sweetheart, particularly singles her out and makes her worklife a living hell. When neither her supervisor nor the mine owner Mr. Pearson are willing to support the women, Josey decides to hire an attorney to sue for better work conditions. What in real life took over twenty years to accomplish, is compressed for better drama into a relatively short time span. Even so, the movie is just over two hours long, yet so compelling and suspenseful, that you’re eager to get to the court’s decision every minute of the way.

Favorite Renner moment: when Josey’s lawyer (played by Woody Harrelson) finally breaks down Bobby on the stand and gets him to admit that he saw Josey being raped. The look on Bobby’s face is as if he finally really sees her as a person and not as an object. Rarely has one look expressed so many conflicting feelings at once.

Favorite thing about the movie: I love to read, and to me, it is a high compliment when a film makes me want to read the book. I hardly ever want to watch a movie based on a book after I’ve read it…

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