Marion Cotillard is a dazzling, superb Academy Award (“La Vie En Rose”) winning actress; her every role is infused with overwhelming dignity, deep understanding, pungently powerful interpretation; she partners with Belgium directors/ brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne in “Two Days, One Night”; “Sandra” a factory worker on sick leave is at the mercy of her co-workers; they have voted for their bonus, in lieu of her returning to her position; she must lobby over a weekend to convince her financially-strapped fellow employees to vote for her reinstatement instead of their much needed bonus. Her fate is in the hands of sixteen decent, struggling men and women fighting to stay off the dole.
Sandra is urged by her steadfast husband “Manu” (Fabrizio Rongione), a cook, to overcome her crippling insecurity and plead, face-to-face with each co-worker for her job; painful, courageous encounters gift viewers a slice of life, a portrait of those living on the periphery , “running on empty”, striving to provide their families with simple basics: sustenance, education, pride.
The roots of Sandra’s depression and self-loathing are never explained; her fragility is profound, she is dependent on anti-depressants and continuous rallying from Manu and her friend “Juliette” (Catharine Salee); Cotillard, without an ounce of glamour, falsity, depicts beleaguered Sandra, politely thanking each person, regardless of their choice, for their consideration. Her dilemma, anguish never robs her of graciousness, goodness.
“Two Days, One Night” pierces the dire circumstances of one family; the ultimate fortitude, generosity of average souls blessed with oceans of empathy for the plight of those on the brink of devastation; there is wisdom in this film that haunts, remains undefined long after experiencing.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!