For Reel

Two Days, One Night (2014)
December 8, 2014, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Director(s): Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
3.5 Stars
Two Days, One NightThe impressive filmography of the Dardenne brothers is populated with small, ethical fables about the working class in Belgium. They’re intense, panicked works about lives in distress. Two Days, One Night is perhaps their most accessible work–not only by casting a star of Marion Cotillard’s caliber (although Cécile De France was the brothers’ first foray in working with movie stars), but by virtue of the linear, almost mechanical plot. In following Cotillard from co-worker to co-worker in an attempt to convince them to reconsider her firing, the picture takes on a fairly repetitive narrative structure. Rarely in a Dardenne picture is the obstacle and solution so apparent. But what is effective about the tedium of the plot’s progression is that it allows the audience to be made aware of subtle differences in the responses from the co-workers. As humanist filmmakers, they focus on mostly inherently good people who are confronted with a sacrifice that they may or may not be able to make. Those who are unable to aid our heroine aren’t judged, rather empathized with as characters of their own stories. Furthermore, although the ethical dilemma isn’t quite as sizable as those they’ve worked with previous (on the surface, nothing is being said other than, “people have a tendency to look out for themselves instead of others”), it’s a nice exploration of depression and the importance of vulnerability. Cotillard often comments that she feels like a beggar. Coming off of a depression and still struggling with anxiety, the film is an effective play on her own self-awakening–her understanding of not only the importance of having the courage to ask for help, but to have the self-esteem to consider herself worthy of reconsideration by her peers.

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