As a film, North Country has less confidence in itself than the preening little mullet-cut men in hardhats who strut by Charlize Theron's silky-haired Silkwood at shoulder-height throughout the film. No film on sure footing would ever allow the introduction of a supporting character with Lou Gehrig's disease, nor would it handcuff each of the dramatic moments in the 'A' story to a companion moment showcasing the poor sufferer's plucky resolve. North Country is supposed to be a story about society's stacked deck, but it's a stacked deck itself, undermining our emotional involvement at every turn. For every ounce of drama it earns - and it does earn some - there is a pound of melodramatic lard heaped on to appeal to the Lifetime TV crowd.