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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

Two Days One Night

Powerful & Important

Two Days One Night is a powerful story about the lives of the working class and the importance of community. In modern-day Belgium, Sandra Bya (Marion Cotillard) is ready to return to work after a medical leave of absence only to discover that while she was gone, her coworkers learned they could afford to cover her shifts by working longer hours and will receive a big bonus if they vote for Sandra not to come back. Sandra has a history of depression and her boss clearly doesn't want her to return. Throughout a single weekend, Sandra must visit all her coworkers to convince them to vote in her favor on Monday morning - her future lies in the hands of their decision.

It is in this film that Cotillard delivers what I see as some of her best work. As much as I praise Cotillard as an actor (And I really truly do) I often find that her characters are just too nice, it's not often I see her get aggressive. Sandra Bya is one of those people you look at and see as someone who's perhaps too nice for their own good. She's not good with confrontation and now she's in a situation where avoiding that will put her and her family in financial affliction. Sandra's husband Manu (Fabrizio Rongione) is a chef and cannot support the family alone. Throughout the weekend, he serves as her sounding board and her cheerleader. He's there to let her vent her fears and motivate her when she's about to give up.

Sandra's mental state is not as bad as it was when she left work but she's still very fragile and the constant rejections make her question her own sanity. Two Days One Night is really one of those films that make you wonder what you would do if Sandra came to your house asking you to vote for her to keep her job. Most of the people she asks have financial responsibilities of their own and cannot afford to lose their bonus. No one is really a perpetrator, just a bunch of victims whose employer waits around for them to turn on one another.

The film also says a lot about job recruiting, especially now. Jobs aren't like trains. It'd be comforting to say that there's always another one coming in fifteen minutes but thinking it doesn't make it so. So many people are often after the same jobs and many industries are dying. People who can't afford the advice of recruiters have to do all the hunting themselves and Sandra can't see how she'll do that when she can't even do that for the job she hopes she still has.

The film is sort of like an entire lifetime in the sense that sometimes, you'll encounter people who'll help you and other times, you'll meet people who make your life difficult. Everything is all about circumstances and you don't have control over that. Some of the coworkers stay with you while others you'll want to forget instantly.

Some of the confrontations become violent making Sandra feel more guilty than she already does. “I feel like a beggar, a thief coming to steal their money,” she tells Manu. Many insist that more people than not have already voted for her while she insists that there's really only just two. “ I forced the others to pity me, if I'm hired back, how will I deal with them staring at me all day?

It's bad enough what women often have to go through to get jobs. In Two Days One Night, we see a woman contemplating what she has to do to keep hers. Two Days One Night is an incredible film about job security, being there for your neighbor, and fighting for your future. It's sort of a darker modern-day Norma Rae. I recommend it to anyone unsure of their futures as well. Feeling that your scene does help and that's what I took away from the film.

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