Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit)(2014)

6 May

two days one night

Film making dream team Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne unite once more to champion the every man in their latest film Two Days, One Night, starring cinematic royalty, Marion Cotillard.But, while choosing an Oscar winning actress might seem a natural choice, Cotillard’s presence took something marked from the film.

We follow Sandra (Cotillard), a working mum and wife in Belgium who has had an extended leave of absence due to a bout of depression. A phone call from a friend alerts her that her co-workers have been made to choose between keeping her on at the factory, and their €1000 bonus, and that the group decided against her. Her boss relents and she is given the weekend to convince them to change their minds before a new vote on Monday. Over the course of the weekend Sandra argues her case to her thirteen coworkers who are mixed in their feelings, they would of course love both, but they must choose, and for some the money is just too desperately needed.

The cast are uniformly brilliant, and the Dardenne brothers’ writing and direction as on point as ever, yet the film fails to deliver on the same level as their previous works. The problem is that in the hyper real world the Dardenne’s have created, one cannot escape Cotillard’s star power. No matter how subtle and compassionately rendered the exchange, it is always Marion Cotillard as Sandra interacting with the characters, not Sandra the depressed wife and mother of two. That’s not to say that Two Days, One Night doesn’t work at all, far from it. The film is yet another glorious feather in the brothers’ well plumed hat, the realism would have simply carried better if the audience was allowed to believe Sandra. Still, well worth seeing for Dardenne fans and those interested in heartfelt stories alike.

Ed.

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