Niki Caro’s North Country is an honestly acted, decently assembled 1989 period drama about a landmark class-action sexual harassment case, but it feels way familiar and is nowhere near surprising or “whoa” enough to make you tell your friends to stop what they’re doing and go see it…although it is a sturdy, close-to-first-rate effort. It’s a little slow at times. For a movie that’s about a real-life courtroom case, it feels a bit curious that the idea of single-mom-and-coal-miner Charlize Theron suing the mining company she’s been woriking for doesn’t come up until the movie has been running for a good hour and 20 minutes. And then the courtroom stuff happens during the last 15 or 20 minutes. It’s fine and moving here and there, but we’ve all seen this kind of thing before and I can’t imagine anyone getting that cranked about it. Sexual harassment is a detestable thing, but it’s been a hot-button issue in our culture for…what?…25 or 30 years now? Yes, Theron could wind up as a Best Actress Oscar contender for her performance, but the film’s been-there, done-that quality will not work in her favor. Frances McDormand gets to play a victim of Lou Gehrig’s Disease….whoo-hoo! Lou Gehrig’s Disease! Emotional-impact-opportunity! Her character is dying but she still has the moxie to say “fuck you” to a corporate lawyer through a voice-box speaker and musters the courage to stand up for her friend, etc. But with all my complaining out of the way, it would be inaccurate and unfair not to say that the final courtroom scene does work…it put a modest lump in my throat. North Country may do fairly well with ticket-buyers, but it’s not a major-event film like Caro’s Whale Rider and that’s the truth.