The French are renowned for their light and frivolous comedies, but Two Days, One Night is a drab and realistic look at the ravages of austerity and there’s frankly not a smile to be seen. Marion Cotillard plays Sandra, a young Belgian mother who after a short absence from the factory where she’s employed (largely because of suffering from depression) finds herself in the invidious position of having to persuade her eighteen colleagues to vote for her to stay in her job, knowing that to do so means they each have to give up a promised €1000 bonus.
The cameras follow Sandra as she trudges desperately around a succession of locations, pleading her cause and being met with reactions ranging from sympathy to the threat of violence. The directors, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne keep everything simple and ultra-realistic while Cotillard’s vulnerable performance will have you rooting for her to succeed. Were this a Hollywood movie, we all know how the story would end but this is reality and it’s to the Dardenne’s credit (they also scripted the movie) that they manage to pull together a conclusion that manages to be both realistic and positive.
Well worth checking out on the smaller screen.