A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States -- Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit.
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A semi-fictionalized account of a long legal battle of group of women miners who endured a hostile work environment and numerous and continuous insults and unwanted touching when they became the first women to go work at the Eveleth Mines in Minnesota. Written by
Josey Aimes is based on Lois Jenson, who started working in the mines in 1975 and endured 13 years of harassment before filing her first lawsuit. Jenson v. Eveleth Mines was settled in 1998, 10 years after it was first filed and over 20 years after the harassment began. See more »
Lady, you sit in your nice house, clean floors, your bottled water, your flowers on Valentine's Day, and you think you're tough? Wear my shoes. Tell me tough. Work a day in the pit, tell me tough.
I'm sure we're all sufficiently impressed, Mrs. Aimes.
There's no "Mrs." here.
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When divorced,single mom Josey Aimes(Charlize Theron,who's definitely NOT afraid to get dirty or uglified for a role)begins work in the rural Minnesota Taconite mines--where her father(Richard Jenkins)has worked a long,secure job--even she isn't prepared for the kind of mental,verbal and physical abuse she and her fellow women receive from the fellow miners who(surprise!)don't cotton well to ladies working in the pits with them. She soldiers on for a number of years before she finally has had enough and decides--after being already ignored by management when she complains--to quit and bring a class action suit against the company,fully aware that she is almost alone in this pursuit,save the somewhat reluctant help of a local lawyer and former hometown sports hero(Woody Harrelson).
I wavered on what rating to give this show for these reasons: the acting and visual direction of this film IS,I must confess,quite good. Credit practically the entire cast for the former,and director Niki Caro and cinematography of Chris Menges for the latter,but the overall tone of this movie is 1)very familiar stuff tot the point of reeking of "TV Movie" material, 2)manipulative by a mile, 3)hits on each emotional note--from the sort of "Girl POwer" quiet assertions of the film's script to the overt nastiness displayed by nearly all of the males working the mines--almost in a perfect cue; 4)the fictionalizing the stories,then mixing the time-lines from the actual case the movie and the book it was based on (namely,Jenson v. Eleveth Mines,filed in 1984,settled in 1998;whereas the film is set in 1989 and almost instantly flips to Septemeber 1991,circa the Anita Hill/Clarence THomas hearings,with the events-to-case trial time relationship murky at best);and 5)the sort of "feel good" third act denouement where the town,once boorishly stubborn against the idea of women working in the mines to being stirred by Ms.Aimes' case. An extra storyline of Aimes being raped in school and thus affecting,at least partly,her condition as being a troubled single mom who has a murky knowledge(or lack thereof)of the paternity of her equally troubled son is probably the most emotionally authentic storyline in this movie,but it feels mixed in for purely embellishment sake in this story,thus calling into question just how much this movie truly represented the true events being retold.
A famous saying says what good intentions pave the way to,but I think in this case good intentions pave the construction of a film that is underwhelming and somewhat disappointing. The story of the Eleveth mine workers and the discrimination case they eventually won absolutely deserve3s being retold,but this movie seems to be only interested in invoking it,then crafting an artificial story to frame it,as if for fear that audiences WOULDN'T get this story in the raw. On it's own,this movie's story works enough to interest most viewers,myself included, and the sincerity behind it is true I'm sure. But this film's over-familiarity and manipulation dilute the potency of the message. More entertainment than enlightenment,it's intentions are good but tough to take to heart. WAtch it for the performances,and one should feel better about it,at least marginally.
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