Film Review – Two Days, One Night
Two Days, One Night
Two Days, One Night, from directors Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, is about one woman’s weekend quest to save her job. Sandra (Marion Cotillard) works at a solar panel company and is currently out on sick leave. She finds out on a Friday that her coworkers have voted to receive a bonus over keeping her on as an employee. With her boss’ approval after Sandra’s plea to him, another vote is to be taken on Monday morning. She has the weekend to go to each coworker’s residence to convince him or her to vote to keep her job over taking a significant bonus.
The film is set in Belgium, spoken in French. It plays out like a series of one act plays; Sandra meeting up with each coworker, each from different circumstances. Most are dependent on that bonus to live, so for most it goes against doing the right thing and instead on being selfish.
To complicate matters, Sandra is very depressed and is on medication. While we never learn while she is on sick leave, the after effects are apparent. She is holding it together for her husband and two children by a thread. The fact that she has to go door to door and beg for her job just makes matters worse. If you have ever been seriously depressed, you are able to put yourself in her shoes and realize that a task like this would break you just as it is for Sandra.
This is not a film centered on CGI, fantastic costumes, or action. It is simply a character driven film focused on something that many people have to deal with in these rough economic times. The labor policies in Belgium may be a little different from ours, but the struggle is real.
Marion Cotillard is the center of the film. She has to contain Sandra’s sadness inside of her that is just on the cusp of being physically displayed as she meets up with each of her coworkers. She plays a depressed person very realistically, and she is able to play out the symptoms really well. Irritability, self-doubt, tiredness, anger, sadness, and irrational thought are all there. Her depiction of depression is not one of stereotypical displays of emotion. It was only after the film ended was I able to grasp the magnitude of her performance.
Two Days, One Night is not a riveting story, even though its conclusion is a nail biter. I do not think it is meant to be one that has you on the edge of your seat. It is a simple story, complicated by the circumstances surrounding it. A woman is fighting for her job and her illness is the complication. While most of us will never have to beg for our jobs from our fellow workers, the situation is relatable, yet terrifying. Two Days, One Night should be celebrated for its depiction of depression and Marion Cotillard’s Sandra.