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Deux jours, une nuit
IMDB Rating : 7.4
IMDB Votes : 17,830
User Reviews : 80
Movie Rated : PG-13
Date Released : 21 May 2014
Run Time : 95 min
Movie Genre : Drama
Movie Director : Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Movie Writer : Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Movie Stars : Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salée, Batiste Sornin
Deux jours, une nuit Sandra Bya, married with two children, has been off work from her job at Solwal on medical leave for depression. During her absence from work, her boss, M. Dumont, on the suggestion of her immediate supervisor, the shop foreman Jean-Marc, figures that her section of the company can function with sixteen people working full time with a bit of overtime instead of seventeen with no overtime, that seventeenth person being Sandra. Because of the global competition the company faces, Dumont decides the company can only finance the annual bonuses for those sixteen employees, which are EUR1,000 per person, or Sandra’s job, leaving the decision to those sixteen. On a Friday near the end of her medical leave, Sandra learns of this situation from her friend and co-worker Juliette after the “show of hands” vote is held, the result a 13-3 decision for the bonuses over Sandra’s job. Because Juliette knows Jean-Marc, who is determined to get rid of Sandra, influenced the vote by scare mongering …
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Powered by a resolute faith in humanity.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's latest working-class odyssey, Two Days, One Night, takes place over the course of a weekend. It is a weekend that will forever remain etched in the mind of Sandra (Marion Cotillard), a worker in a small solar-panel factory who has to fight for her job in the face of management cutbacks. Given a choice between a 1,000 Euro bonus and keeping Sandra in her job, fourteen out of sixteen voted for the bonus, persuaded by the factory foreman Jean-Marc (Olivier Gourmet) that others may face layoffs if they vote for Sandra. Sandra's self-image is low, having recently suffered a nervous breakdown, and her lack of self esteem is reinforced by her co-workers decision.
As she tries to raise two small children (Pili Groyne, Simon Caudry) on her husband's income as a cook, she is fearful of going back on welfare and living in public housing. Fortunately, her husband, Manu (Fabrizio Rongione), is there for her, urging her not to give in but fight back. Fortunately, Sandra also has support at work and her friend Juliette (Catherine Salee) catches the firm's manager (Baptiste Sornin) on Friday afternoon, and persuades him to revisit the issue in a silent ballot on Monday morning. In spite of her reluctance, she decides to personally contact those who voted against her by going to their homes and try to persuade them to change their vote, although she knows it is going to be a hard sell. In order to get a majority, she knows that she will have to get seven more colleagues to change their vote, but initially she gets a mixed reception.
One worker refuses to talk to her, another becomes belligerent but many simply say that, because of economic conditions, they simply need their bonus to keep functioning, one to pay his daughter's tuition, another because they need the money to build an addition to the back yard. Each situation is different and there is no attempt by the Dardenne Brothers to load the dice emotionally for Sandra or render judgment on the ones that turn her down. She simply states her case, letting people know that that her husband is a kitchen worker and that she may have to move back to public housing if she doesn't work. Her appeal is to people's sense of decency, and her resentment of the fact that people have been put in this untenable position.
Sandra's visits a young father (Timur Magomedgadzhiev) coaching a soccer team who heartbreakingly cries when he sees her, ashamed that he voted against her the first time even though she had been of great help to him as a new worker. There is also an interchange with a short-term contract worker (Serge Koto) who is afraid of being fired if the foreman finds out how he voted. Though it is unintended, Sandra finds that her visits have an effect on people's lives. One young woman Anne (Christelle Cornil), finds herself wanting to support Sandra but is bullied by her husband, a situation that causes her to wake up to the reality of the relationship.
Two Days, One Night keeps us riveted until the final result, as tense as any tightly contested political election. Cotillard does an outstanding job as the working class woman battling against her fears. Though highly recognizable from previous high profile roles, she blends into the character seamlessly. Ultimately, the film is not about economic struggles, depression, or a choice between selfishness and compassion. It is about an individual taking responsibility for her life, and in the process, transforming its very fabric and the lives of the people around her. Like the rest of the Dardenne's body of work, it is powered by a resolute faith in humanity.