Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night) - Marion Cotillard's great dilemma
As the Great Recession is coming to an end in most countries around the world, many families are still having problems paying the bills. May it be because they lost their jobs, or because their jobs simply aren't paying enough.. The Belgian Dardenne brothers bring an extremely realistic piece about one of those families, following two days (and one night) in the life of Sandra.
Sandra (Marion Cotillard) works at a medium-size solar-panel company, but has been told they decided to let her go. Well, it wasn't decided by upper management really. There was a vote. It was either a bonus of €1,000 for all of the employees, but one of them had to go (Sandra). Or Sandra could stay, but none of them would get a bonus.
Sandra is devastated by the choice of her colleagues (some of them friends). She's quite unstable and still recovering from a nervous breakdown. But then she learns some of the voters have been manipulating the vote. And she convinces her boss to do a re-vote after the weekend.
What follows is a documentary-style drama of the weekend where Sandra tries to convince all of her co-workers to vote for her staying at the company. Her family needs the money, and this is, as hard as it may be, all she can do. But the co-workers and their families have their own problems. They sometimes simply need the money, or even get annoyed when she tries to convince them to chance their mind.
It's like the Dardenne brothers' previous film, The Kid with a Bike (Le Gamin au Vélo), a hard-hitting film and a great take on the current problems some families in the Western society are facing. But I'd pick this film over their previous film any time, just because Sandra (and Marion Cotillard) is a much more charming character that's a lot easier to watch and to fill a whole film with.
The story is very simple, down to earth (and French..) and shows both sides of the story. It's a great dilemma that's gripping until the end. There are some slow moments, but overall it's definitely one of the French dramas to watch this year.