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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1989. Josey Aimes takes her two kids, Sammy and Karen, and leaves her abusive husband Wayne, to return to her northern Minnesota home town. On a chance meeting with her old friend Glory Dodge who works as a driver and union rep at the mine operated by Pearson Taconite and Steel, Josey decides to work at the mine as well, work that is dominated by men in number and in tone. She does so to be able to stand on her own two feet for the first time in her life, something she probably could not have done if she remained in a job washing hair at a beauty salon. Working at the mine does not sit well with her father, Hank Aimes, who also works at the mine and who, like the other male workers, believes she is taking a job away from a man. Hank has believed that all Josey's problems are of her own doing, ever since she, unmarried, had Sammy while she was still in high school. Josey has always stated that she does not know who Sammy's biological father is, which fosters Hank's attitude about her. ... Written by
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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Dramatic license is certainly forgivable but this film would have been much more effective if not for the beyond-Perry-Mason touches in the courtroom where the plaintiff's case is rescued at the 11th hour and 59th minute by antics that wouldn't pass muster in any courtroom in America, unless the defendant's attorney (Linda Emond) was utterly incompetent and the judge was a blithering idiot. Surely it should have been possible for a competent script writer to bring the drama to its conclusion in a more believable way. The manifest absurdity of the last 15 minutes of the movie undermined (for me) what was otherwise another excellent performance by Charlize Theron and the usual outstanding work of Frances McDormand. For those who haven't seen her on the stage, this may have been the first time most movie goers will have encountered Linda Emond, who plays the defense attorney. She is a gifted actress who deserves better than being asked to stand by like a cigar store Indian while the plaintiff's attorney (Woody Harrelson) commits every procedural violation that could possibly be conceived. Don't blame Harrelson, however. The one-time goofy bartender of "Cheers" actually does very well in the scenes outside the courtroom. Frankly, I wish this film had stuck more closely to the facts and avoided the phony fireworks at the end.
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