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May 2011 The Real Story Behind The Reel Almost every movie that is either inspired by a true story or based on a true story doesn’t convey the real story. Unless it’s a documentary then the movie more than likely isn’t the true story.
Hollywood directors and writers take real stories of people and their lives and make them into a big Hollywood production. Therefore, the true story is lost in all the action and drama that the writers put into these movies. There are a huge number of movies that are like this. One in particular would be North Country starring Charlize Theron.
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This movie is a fictionalized account of the first major 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 (North Country). The movie is inspired by a brave woman who fought so hard for what she wanted, but the movie portrays her actual story very little in the movie. The scenes in the movie are completely “Hollywood” and show no real story beside the fact that there were actual court trials.The court trial scenes in the movie are all made up and completely dramatized but the movie shows that there were actual court trials and in the end the women working for the mines won the lawsuit. The true story can be told through the court trial scenes but aren’t within the movie. The real story of this woman is way more than some dramatic moments made up in a movie, its real life issues that can never be fully expressed in a movie.
The woman who inspired North Country was Lois Jenson who worked in the mines of Eveleth Taconite Co. Lois worked in the mines from 1975 to 1992 in northern Minnesota (Jenson v.Eveleth Taconite Co.
). She and other women co- workers had to endure the men that worked at the mine. They were very vocal about their opposition to the women working at the mine right from the start and that disapproval turned ugly quickly. Pornographic pictures and graffiti began showing up everywhere around the mine, dildos modeled out of waterproofing material appeared in the women’s workplaces, lewd jokes and unwelcome physical contact form co-workers and supervisors became everyday occurrences.
As more women were hired the harassment just got worse.The behavior of the men escalated into stalking, assault and threats of rape. Women that complained about the behavior would find themselves threatened or exiled to work in isolated parts of the plant, where they would find themselves vulnerable to the men (National Women’s History Museum). Some of the abuse is portrayed in the movie to help people understand how these women were treated in this male dominated environment.
These events at the mines lead to a lawsuit on August 15, 1988, attorney Paul Sprenger filed Lois E. Jenson and Patricia S. Kosmach v. Eveleth Taconite Co. in U.S. District Court in the U.
S. District Court in Minneapolis. Class-action status was requested at the time, and granted by Judge James Rosenbaum on December 16, 1991. A liability trial began on December 17, 1992 in front of Judge Richard Kyle in St. Paul, Minnesota, and six months later, he ruled that the company should have prevented the misconduct. The company was ordered to educate all employees about sexual harassment.
Patrick McNulty of Duluth was named special master a few months later to oversee a trial that would determine the amount of money owed to the women in damages.The retired federal magistrate permitted lawyers from the mine company to obtain medical records of all of the women for their entire lifetimes. Ahead of the trial, the plaintiffs endured long depositions that explored their personal lives in great detail (Jenson v.
Eveleth Taconite Co. ). There are scenes in the movie that partially show what these lawyers dug up from their personal lives to be investigated in this trial.
One scene in particular shows that the lawyers were investigating her pregnancy as a teenager. Charlize Theron, who portrays Lois Jenson in the movie, was raped by her teacher when she was sixteen years old.Lois Jenson was not really raped in real life but it kind of shows what kind of things that these lawyers put out there for the public to see. The first half of the trial for damages began in Duluth on January 17, 1995 and lasted until February 10.
After a break, it resumed on May 22 and ended on June 13. On March 28, 1996, McNulty released a 416-page report that called the women “histrionic,” made public details about their private lives, and awarded them an average of $10,000 each. However, the judgment was appealed and reversed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 5, 1997.A new jury trial was ordered. On December 23, 1998, just before the trial was set to begin, fifteen women settled with Eveleth Mines for a total of $3. 5 million.
One of the original plaintiffs, Pat Kosmach, died partway through the case on November 7, 1994 (Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co. ). The death of Pat Kosmach was portrayed in the movie by Frances McDormand. Things didn’t change just because the trial was finally settled.
Roger Ebert said, “Like the court’s decisions on civil rights, it didn’t change everything overnight. ” Roger Ebert’s statement is very true and not everything will be changed and made right.The fact that something was done about sexual harassment in these male – dominated mines by these women really shows how brave they are and shows what they believe in and what they believe is right. The North Country screenplay by Michael Seitzman was inspired by the 2002 book Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law by Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler, which chronicled the case of Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Company (North Country film). Although, the movie was inspired by a true story, it wasn’t all true but did portray some important events that really occurred in real life.The story of Lois Jenson is talked about a lot because she was the first women to ever win a sex discrimination case in the US, and this was the catalyst to revolutionize the way Americans work today (Lois Jenson).
The real story was conveyed throughout this paper unlike the movie reel. Most true stories are lost in the drama and action Hollywood writers put into movies like North Country. The real stories can be found by researching them so people can also fully understand what happened in the movies that are either inspired by a true story or based on a true story.
The story of Lois Jenson will never be forgotten as time passes by. Works Cited Calson, Stephanie. “Background on Class Action Suit. ” National Women’s History Museum. Web.
28 May 2011. Charu. “Lois Jenson: The Inspiration Behind ‘North Country’ Starring Charlize Theron. ” 2005. Web. 28 May 2011. Ebert, Roger.
“North Country. ” Web. 28 May 2011. “Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co.
” Wikipedia. 11 March 2011. Web. 28 May 2011.
“North Country. ” The Internet Movie Database. Web. 28 May 2011.
“North Country. ” Wikipedia. Web. 28 May 2011.