From 2014, “Two Days, One Night“is an interesting little character drama about what happens when a worker is fired from her job so that her co-workers could keep their yearly bonuses, and what that worker does over the course of a weekend to convince her co-workers to give up their bonuses so she can stay employed. Not making things any easier for her is her recent bout with depression, which is part of why she lost her job due to the stigma that people endure when faced with such a dilemma, and she has to fight through this to be able to go from person to person to plead her case. Marion Cotillard is excellent, as per usual, as the lead of this extremely well made film from the great Dardenne brothers, makers of top notch dramas and fully realized movies about people and the situations they find themselves, all of which contain universal truths even when done within very specific and seemingly unique stories.
“Two Days, One Night” works because of the classic approach from the Dardennes, who prefer simple set ups and straightforward storytelling in all of their movies and which works great for the stories they tell. They don’t get flashy and instead focus on the small moments that ring true, like the long moment in which Sandra waits for the new vote while it happens and she stands in a hallway, sipping a bottle of water, leaning against a wall, apprehensive, waiting for the result, and it is tense because this is what the movie has been building up to, this will be the big payoff to the story, and this moment of waiting could have been skipped over but instead it becomes a focal point. The approach and style of the movie just makes it all feel real and possible, like this could have happened, probably did happen, and probably will happen. And of course this movie isn’t going to end with a heist or an action scene of some sort, it all hinges on an emotional turn from Sandra, one that was being worked on from the opening scene, so when it comes at the end it is kind of surprising but also makes perfect sense and is emotionally satisfying in the way it was done, which then makes the whole movie a smashing success in simple yet very effective storytelling.
Check out the sneaky storytelling powers of the Dardenne brothers here on the Netflix Instant.