Two Days, One Night

Academy Award winning actress Marion Cotillard has been nominated for Best Actress again in a Belgian movie called TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT. It’s a great performance comes in a movie that’s not easy to sit through.

Marion Cotillard plays a depressed woman who will lose her factory job if she can’t convince a majority of her sixteen co-workers that she should not be fired.
You see; they’ve been told that if she’s let go, the rest of them will get a salary bonus.
It’s a horrible dilemma for everyone, and it’s painful to watch her interactions with each of other workers, all of whom need the bonus almost as much as she needs her job.

Sandra (to herself): You mustn’t cry.

Fortunately, Cotillard’s character, Sandra, has a sympathetic husband.

Husband: It’s not your fault that they lose a bonus if you stay. Tell them you need your job. You need your salary. See them one by one this weekend.

A vote will be taken on Monday.
All Sandra really wants to do is to go to bed and avoid the whole issue. But she has children and her husband is a low paid cook. So she tries.

Sandra (to a co-worker): I wanted to see you about the bonus and me being laid off. I need my salary. We need it at home.

Each person reacts differently.

“I don’t want you to lose your job. I don’t want to lose my bonus, either. It’s a years gas and electric bills.”
“Put yourself in my shoes.”
“I can’t afford to lose 1,000 euros.”
“How dare you steal our bonus money?”
“I’ll vote for you.”

It’s an agonizing process, and the pain of it is no fun to watch.
At times, Sandra is ready to accept her foreman’s conclusion.

Sandra: He’s right. Im not up to it anymore. I can’t stop crying. I’m losing my voice now.
Husband: It’d knock out anyone. It’d knock me out too.
Sandra: I wish that was me.
Husband: Who?
Sandra: That bird singing.

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT reminds me of the kind of film that used to be described as “kitchen sink realism.” It’s about the struggles of ordinary people to survive financially, a subject many Hawaii residents know all too much about.
So in spite of how well acted and directed this movie really is, it’s bound to make many people in the audience feel restless and uncomfortable.