Two Days, One Night (15)
by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
From 22 August 2014
Two Days, One Night is a 'socialist epic' according to the film critic
of the Observer. The Guardian scribe said it is 'a classic trade union
drama'. Ho hum, methinks not on both counts...perhaps I was watching a
different movie...!! For instance, there was no trade union representation
of any sort in the tale.
It is a simple story, set in a small town in Belgium including a number
of simplistic observations, or should I say assumptions, made by the highly
rated Dardenne brothers.
It focuses upon Sandra (Marion Cotillard). a married woman with two kids,
who wants to return to work at a solar panel factory following a nervous
breakdown - it is never indicated what brought this about - but her problems
are exacerbated by the company's decision to operate a ballot among the
16 workers. They have the choice to either pick up a 1000 euros bonus
or decide to make her redundant.
She then goes on a quest to personally meet and speak to all of the workers
involved over a weekend before the secret ballot takes place on the Monday.
The dialogue in the film then becomes irritatingly repetitive with Sandra
asking , with almost the same series of words, why she would like the
person she is conversing with to vote for her in the ballot.
Although she was faced with losing her job, it sounds harsh but I felt
little empathy with her - she appeared so self centred. She seemed almost
dismissive of her husband's (FabrizioRonglone) genuine support for her
in her struggle, not only being faced with going on the dole - as I know
from experience it is not the end of the world- but also her constant
resource to pill popping. I lost count of the number of times she placed
Xana - medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders - into her
mouth, almost at random, and took a swig of tap water from the bathroom
sink to swallow it down.
After several of the workers had told her they would take the bonus,
her despair led her to attempt suicide by ingesting a large handful of
Xana. Implausibly she is released from hospital, after a stomach pump,
a few hours later with no mention of her needing any sort of counselling
for contemplating such an act, particularly given her previous acute mental
One upbeat moment in the film - there were not many - was Sandra joyously
singing in the car along with her husband to Gloria sung by the wonderful
The most poignant moment of Two Days, One Night occurred when the two
of them were enjoying eating an ice cream together underneath a tree where
a bird was singing. "I wish that was me," said Sandra.
NERVE supports workers struggling for a living wage.
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