Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit)

Two Days, One Night
Directed by Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
Starring Marion Cotillard and Fabrizio Rongione
In US Cinemas December 24th, 2014

by Joanna Orland

Marion Cotillard gives an outstanding performance in the Dardenne Brothers’ latest film Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit).  In the same vain as much of the Dardenne’s work, Two Days, One Night is a naturalistic drama set in their home country of Belgium, but with Hollywood star Marion Cotillard in the lead this is likely the most mainstream of their films.

Minimalistic in plot, the film follows Sandra (Cotillard) who suffers from severe depression but must fight to keep her job at a small factory.  To do so, she must speak to each of her colleagues to ensure that she sways the vote that they will be holding at work after the weekend which will see her colleagues decide between keeping Sandra employed or keeping their annual bonuses.

As Sandra goes from colleague to colleague, she is affected greatly for better or for worse by each of their shows of support or lack thereof.  With help from her husband Manu (Rongione), she spends the weekend tracking each of them down, the true severity of her depression unfolding, and her relationship with Manu proving to be complex, tragic and inspiring.

Cotillard is a strong contender for a Best Actress Oscar nomination as she carries this film like no other actress could do.  Her emotions are subtly portrayed, reacting to the finer details in the script presented before her.   Her depression is portrayed as depression rather than theatrical mood swings that can often plague on screen sufferers of the disease.

The film plot does not explore much more than Sandra confronting her colleagues, but at its heart Two Days, One Night is a character study and socioeconomic commentary to keep on the radar come Awards season.


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