As the co-author of the book that inspired the movie "North Country," I want to respond to E.J. Graff's Nov. 13 Outlook article, "Too Pretty a Picture."
Graff argues that "North Country" sugarcoated the story of Lois Jenson's traumatic sexual harassment case, which Laura Leedy Gansler and I describe in our book, "Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law." I disagree.
The makers of "North Country" should be commended for telling this story with truth and authenticity. Making a movie about sexual harassment is hardly an obviously profitable endeavor, yet the filmmakers' passion for this difficult story bucked the trend in Hollywood and told an important story. They found a way to distill this long saga of 15 years of sexual harassment in the iron mines of northern Minnesota with grace and finesse.
"North Country" is not a documentary. It is a two-hour movie, which for the sake of time, not to mention telling a coherent story on the big screen, had to abbreviate and omit some facts. But audiences have hardly been spared the horrible truth of what happened to Jenson and her fellow female miners, whose clothes were ejaculated on and who were pushed over in portable toilets, made the subjects of crude graffiti, and grabbed and assaulted.
"North Country" tells us all we need to know in a movie. If you want to know more, you can always read the book.
-- Clara Bingham