Two Days, One Night

Studio: IFC Films
Directed by the Dardenne brothers

Dec 22, 2014 Issue #52 - January/February 2015 - St. Vincent
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Parabolic in its surface simplicity, Two Days, One Night follows Sandra (Marion Cotillard), a married mother of two who must convince the majority of her 16 co-workers to refuse their bonuses so she can keep her factory job. Each of Sandra’s interactions with fellow employees ripples outward, causing further ethical and social complications. As details of her recent bout with a debilitating depression surface, her quest slowly reveals itself as a means for private redemption.

Lesser directors might have confused the character’s frailty for stock blessed-are-the-meek saintliness, but in the hands of veteran Belgian duo the Dardenne brothers and as embodied by Cotillard, Sandra is gaunt, quaking, and palpably human in her weaknesses. Like an earthly parallel to Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, the film visualizes the wavering of her internal struggle using the homeliest aesthetic means (natural light, handheld cameras, an abundance of unembellished medium shots). If it never quite evolves into the miniature moral universe the Dardennes sought to construct, Two Days succeeds in becoming the most threadbare of salvation stories.

www.ifcfilms.com/films/two-days-one-night

Author rating: 7/10

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