After returning from sick-leave, Sandra is informed that she has been laid off by her company. The employees voted on the decision, choosing between their own end of the year bonus and Sandra’s employment. After meeting with Dumont, the senior supervisor, Sandra convinces him to have a re-vote on Monday, giving her the weekend to try and convince her coworkers to let her stay. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Two Days One Night displays the Dardenne’s uncanny ability to take a very minimalist story and create a deep and poignant portrait of humanity. The film plays out like a roller coaster ride, as Sandra goes from co-worker to co-worker attempting to save her job. This a complex situation and the Dardennes present it that way, showing that there is no clear-cut right vs. wrong in this situation. Two Days One Night isn’t biased towards its main protagonist, capturing how many of Sandra’s coworkers are also struggling to provide for themselves and their family. This is a film that subtly captures the power money has over our lives, showing how both empathy and selfishness are not nearly as cut and dry as many make it out to be. Marion Cotillard is great in the role, displaying a fragile character whose thrown into a situation she isn’t equipped to handle. Battling depression, Sandra is a woman who struggles at times to find purpose in her own existence, and the film’s greatest strength lies in its ability to capture its main protagonist learning how to fight for herself while coming to the realization that she is worth fighting for. Two Days One Night is another minimalistic gem from the Dardenne brothers, delivering a pensive character study full of fascinating themes about humanity and the human struggle in contemporary society.
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