Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. 100
    After "Monster," here is another extraordinary role from an actress [Theron] who has the beauty of a fashion model but has found resources within herself for these powerful roles about unglamorous women in the world of men.
  2. 90
    Happily, North Country is not all social-realist grit or straight sermonizing. Not only is Theron achingly real, the fine supporting performances here lend even more dramatic reach and human scale.
  3. 88
    A classic social drama in the proud tradition of "Norma Rae," "Silkwood" and "Erin Brockovich."
  4. What gives North Country urgency is that it's about how a man comes to understand that it's bad for him and for his community to deny his daughter privileges and prerogatives he'd grant his son.
  5. 88
    It infuriated me. It broke my heart. It convinced me that Caro, who's from New Zealand, is a strong, clear-voiced filmmaker
  6. 80
    The story of America's first successful class-action sexual-harassment lawsuit may sound dull, but Caro ratchets up the intensity until every flung epithet and threat stings. The approach is sometimes shrill, but it's effective.
  7. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Powerful and then some.
  8. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    An emotionally potent story told with great dignity.
  9. 80
    An engrossing, well-crafted story of a grave injustice avenged, hitting all the right notes of sympathy, outrage and, finally, relief.
  10. 80
    Charlize Theron, in nonglam mode, dominates this powerful drama about sexual harassment at a Minnesota iron ore mine in the early 90s.
  11. A welcome and appropriate treat is the flurry of Bob Dylan tunes that can be heard playing in the background of this northern Minnesota story.
  12. 75
    Despite its serious subject matter, North Country is a crowd-pleaser at heart.
  13. North Country may be a simplistic account of a hard-won battle, but it will have audiences cheering.
  14. Richard Jenkins gives the standout supporting performance, worthy of Oscar consideration, as Josey's father, a miner unable to conceal his anger at his daughter for having a child out of wedlock and, now, creating dissension at his workplace.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The milieu here is unforgiving, which makes fighting for basic rights important. You get a sense of why Bob Dylan -- who performs on this soundtrack -- wanted to bolt this frigid part of the map.
  16. 75
    Stirring and emotionally forceful.
  17. Reviewed by: Stephen Saito
    There is something almost reverential about the way director Niki Caro shoots the winding roads leading into Minnesota's North Country mining community, just before dismantling all of it piece by piece.
  18. Might have been richer, tougher, more honestly liberal if it had revealed a few more shades of gray among the men.
  19. Overcooked and simplistic in spots.
  20. The issue of sexual politics so dominates the story that it's a relief when an emotional showdown involves family rather than workplace issues. Not so surprisingly, these are the movie's best scenes.
  21. 70
    The problem with Seitzman's script is how predictable almost all of it feels.
  22. 70
    The movie’s old-school feminism is true to its subject, and Theron proves charismatic enough to stand alone as an emblematic working-class heroine doing what she has to do without benefit of feminist theory. I’m even willing to forgive this rousing drama its coy, flirty ending, if only because its heroine has the grace not to drive her pickup truck off a cliff.
  23. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Frances McDormand, as the lone female union rep, and Richard Jenkins, as Josie’s angry miner dad, cut through the predictability.
  24. 70
    You cannot help being stirred by the reach and depth, the constant rebuffs to sloppiness, of a strong ensemble.
  25. But the contrast between setting and story isn't all that bars North Country from fulfillment. The major trouble is Theron. She plays Josey as well as is needed, but she is simply too beautiful.
  26. Harrelson does his considerable best to redeem the hackneyed role of the dreamboat do-gooder. No matter how conventional his roles may be, he always gives them a feral quality, an eccentricity, that lifts them out of the ordinary.
  27. 67
    Caro stumbles in a couple ways. By flashing forward throughout the film to scenes of the climactic courtroom showdown, she blunts the story's dramatic impact.
  28. 67
    At best, North Country just inspires you to read the book.
  29. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    A potentially great movie--with talent and plot points to spare--that settles for being just okay.
  30. For all North Country's blockbuster elements, the film remains a curiously uninvolving affair.
  31. North Country resorts to theatrics a judge would squelch after one outburst, as director Niki Caro and writer Michael Seitzman aim for a "Spartacus" feel.
  32. 60
    An above average film, and features fine performances (Theron and McDormand are probably stone locks for more Oscar nominations), but be wary of the advertising pointing out the film's similarities to movies like "Erin Brockovich."
  33. 60
    Having established Josey as the focus of the entire iron range's enmity, the filmmakers panic, and North Country spectacularly self-destructs in a climactic courtroom free-for-all.
  34. To see this overly schematic movie, is to be made to feel -- inaccurately as it turns out -- that the whole thing is a hopelessly exaggerated fabrication. The taint of the melodramatic techniques used in key segments infects the entire movie and makes us question the truth of a significant historical reality.
  35. That the film works as well as it does, delivering a tough first hour only to disintegrate like a wet newspaper, testifies to the skill of the filmmakers as well as to the constraints brought on them by an industry that insists on slapping a pretty bow on even the foulest truth.
  36. 50
    Any similarities between Josey and Lois Jenson, the real woman who made Eveleth Mines pay for their sins in a landmark 1988 class-action suit, are purely coincidental. Instead, we get a TV-movie fantasy of female empowerment glazed with soap-opera theatrics.
  37. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    What should have been an important addition to popular films about women's rights winds up being the most insulting courtroom drama since "Ally McBeal" was put out of its misery.
  38. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    It starts off well enough but slowly sinks under the leaden weight of its worthiness.
  39. A long, slow slog through what could have been, and should have been, a more absorbing story.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. Nov 6, 2011
    This film is beautiful contrast. It's majestic overhead shots fade into the grim and dirty mines, where our female stars struggle against the males and their horrible treatment. Actors are great and really show us a range of emotion. It is a story that needs to be told and I am glad it is a film. There could have been a little more for some of the male miners, for sadly they are all the same horrible man, but perhaps that was on purpose? Full Review »
  2. Mar 24, 2011
    The movie is terribly contrived. The story is great. The movie was not so great. And I believe it had a lot to do with the poor direction. It was a good story that would have better been told in the hands of another director. To see what Francis Ford Coppola did with Rainmaker and then to watch this movie is about how the entire Mining company would have felt at the end of the trial: utter disappointment.

    The court scenes were a mess. The acting was good but I couldn't pay attention to it because I was so lost by the direction on the movie.

    Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brokovich was much better than this movie. Though important to the storyline, the fecal, scatological, crass and disgusting behaviour by the Male miners was used as a crutch by Caro. She simply leaned on it too much. It would have been move rewarding to give the viewer more depth rather than lean on the Male behaviour in the the mines. We are not all moved by scat. A touch of real human emotion would have told much more than a prolonged scene with a ****

    At the end of the movie I still couldn't really feel for Josey Aimes and not due in any part to the real life woman, Lois Jensen, or the acting by Charlize Theron, who was great. It was Caro's inability to focus on what mattered in the story. What was contrived? Josey's relationship with her father, lawyer and children, mostly. Though most interaction between the protagonist and Glory made me sick, sicker than the virtually ubiquitous smut. This movie SHOULD HAVE been more absorbing. And the ending...just like my own review's ending...plop.
    Full Review »
  3. TomM.
    Jun 12, 2007
    I resisted seeing this film assuming it would be no more than a long drawn out "message" film, no matter the relevance of its subject matter. I was dead wrong. When I finally did see it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although there will still be those same old (and young) reactionaries who will try to dismiss it as a "chick flick," there is no denying that it captures the ugliness of gender mistreatment and discrimination, as well as the frustration and helplessness of those who are victimized by it. The cast is extraordinary with every single actor coming through. Frances McDormand pulls off yet another masterpiece, Woody Harrelson surprises, and Sissy Spacek does it once again (her portrayal was so true to character I did not recognize her until well into the story). Which brings me to Charlize Theron. Her exceptional performance and stunning beauty caused me to wonder about other actresses who are able to to combine beauty and talent so effortlessly. I'm sure there are others, but a young Julie Christie immediately came to mind. And, lastly, if you like Bob Dylan you will savor the soundtrack, and, like me, will probably end up buying it. Full Review »