Thursday, November 16, 2006

DVD time: NORTH COUNTRY

I know--the title NORTH COUNTRY doesn't exactly inspire a viewer to sit right down and invest two hours in watching it. That's how I felt when I got this movie from Netflix. It would be worthwhile; I was assured of that because it's an ACADEMY AWARD TYPE movie. So...quality, right? But I didn't expect a lot except for great acting and a "message."

I was really, really wrong.

I loved this film. Loved it so much that the time seemed to go by in a blink. Everything about it got to me: the sterile snowy landscapes of Minnesota, the bleak mine where the heroine goes to work, the blue-collar vibe of people just trying to make a living and then going back home to a cheaply wood-paneled family room. And the acting was absolutely great: Charlize Theron and her supporting cast deserve all the kudos piled on them. There was no overrated frenzy in compliments here.

But what really struck me about NORTH COUNTRY was the message. It hit deep, especially after having to go through that simunitions training I wrote about a few blogs ago (You know--the activity where I had the hood on my head?). I thought a lot about cowardice and just how much of it might be inside of me. But this movie made me consider cowardice in another form. NORTH COUNTRY isn't about a blazing high-stress situation that burns itself out in under a couple of minutes. It's not about life-or-death decisions. It's about the quiet choice we all have to make at some point in our lives. Sometimes those decisions pass us by without us ever dealing with them, even though we know we should have. They disappear from the moment in shameful silence but still tear us apart, haunting us with the knowledge that we should have spoken up when the time was right.

The heroine chose to speak up, and it was her coworkers who had to face their own cowardice. NORTH COUNTRY is a powerful representation of what it's like to be THAT person who decides to let the big moments go by, even if they know it's wrong to do so. Very highly recommended.

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