In Review: Two Days, One Night on DVD

by Ann Jackson on 21/10/2014

two days one night

Two Days, One Night is co-written and directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who cite the Peugeot employment case as their inspiration for the film. Marion Cotillard is Sandra, a Belgian wife and mother who is suffering from depression. She is due to go back to work the next week when she is faced with being made redundant. 

Sandra gets a call informing her that she will be laid off unless she can get to work now and see the boss, to persuade him to allow her the weekend to put her case to her fellow workers. A new vote could be taken on Monday, but the boss has to agree today. Her boss agrees and so Sandra has the weekend to persuade people to vote for her. Her supportive husband Manu (Fabrizio Rongione) helps her to face what needs to be done. Sandra finds that others do value her, and with conscientious dignity she defends seemingly everyone except for herself; she finds she can cope with the future.

Cotillard brilliantly shows us the dragging tiredness and despair of the depressive trying to cope with what seems to be an impossible task. The writing is sharp and realistic, mirroring ordinary everyday language, and the cinematography succeeds in making the viewer feel like they are tagging along with Sandra as she fights to be acknowledged by herself and her co-workers.

The film shows us how differently we react when we communicate face to face; how we change our mind about others, how we remember our humanity and solidarity. The message contained within Two Days, One Night is clear, that companies increasingly set workers against each other during cutbacks and when using ‘austerity’ measures, so that they can escape being challenged to justify increasingly dubious business practises. This film was a no-frills, honest look at an ordinary woman surviving the disaster of unemployment. It is absorbing and emotional, a statement of our times. French, or should i say Belgian, film at its best.


Directors  Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne give a honest insight into why they did the film, their method of production and how they got the actors into the right attitude for filming. Marion Cotillard has two interviews featured, one was a film festival one, and the other one a more personal view.

Ann has awarded Two Days, One Night on DVD five Torches of Truth

5 torches

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