Sunday, February 8, 2015

Netflix Instant Queue Movie Review: "Two Days, One Night" (2014)

Image Source
Movie: "Two Days, One Night"/"Deux Hours, Une Nuit"
Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Year: 2014
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Sandra (Marion Cotillard) has been away from work on sick leave due to an undisclosed emotional or possibly physical problem. She is notified on a Friday that she has been terminated from her job as her co-workers have voted to receive a €1,000 Euro bonus on the terms that Sandra would have to be fired for them to receive it. She convinces her boss to hold a second vote on Monday, believing that some of her co-workers were intimidated into voting against her and for the bonus. She now has the weekend to convince her fellow employees to vote to give up their bonuses and to let her keep her job. 

Many people were stunned when Jennifer Aniston got snubbed for a Best Actress nomination at the 2015 Academy Awards. In place of her was Marion Cotillard, who plays Sandra in "Two Days, One Night," a film that, at the time of the Oscar nominations, was only playing in 5 domestic movie theaters. While we love Marion Cotillard, we think this movie is sort of overrated. There are lots of critics who will say that there is more than meets the eye with this film, that this is just how Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne direct their films. While we do think that Cotillard's performance is good, past that, there's not much to this movie at all and not because we didn't understand it. We do like her character arc, though, and she portrays someone full of desperation, sadness and hopelessness well. On the flip side, at the end of the movie, she seems to have a reason to live and keep on going, even though her situation isn't ideal, she looks like she's a bit more hopeful. Filmmakers try their damnedest throughout the movie to make Sandra look disheveled in some specific scenes, but Cotillard is so naturally gorgeous that her radiance shines through her simplistic makeup and dress.

Now, you might just think we are ignorant Americans who don't understand how jobs operate in other countries, but regardless of your residence, who would want to work for a company that pits its employees against one another, regardless of the circumstances? One might argue that this does happen inadvertently and without knowledge all the time in workplaces all over the world, but that's neither here nor there. "Two Days, One Night," as a whole, makes sure audiences don't forget what's going on in this particular film, and they do this by saying the same lines and phrases, nearly verbatim, over and over and over again for the entire film. When it comes right down to it, there is very little original dialogue in this film apart from some minor changes to the same story Cotillard tells over and over again to each of her individual coworkers. And that's another thing. For a company of only about 20 people, you'd think that you might have and build a natural rapport with one another, being in such a small company, but it was clear that Sandra knew almost no one at her work. Thus, she is forced to talk to relative strangers and beg for her job back, which in turn, would take away their bonuses. It is also interesting to note that this company appears to pay their employees so little that so many of her other coworkers are desperate for the bonus money to simply makes meet, which is another thing that begs the question: why would you want to work there at all when your job is constantly in jeopardy and you barely get paid??? We also know that it might not be her boss' call whether to fire her and the decision might have come from someone higher up within the company, but still, wouldn't you at least start looking for another job in the off chance that your coworkers who, once again, don't really know you all that well, vote for their own dolla dolla billsz ya'll instead of letting you keep your job? It's always smart to at least start the process of looking for new employment with the looming possibility of termination, and we know her character is deeply depressed and disturbed, but for god's sake, she has kids to feed! **********SPOILER********** Then, at the end of it all, the company's solution to keeping her is to turn around and not renew someone else's contract. So, in essence, the company goes from firing one employee to changing their mind and firing a second employee to let the first employee come back to work, perpetuating the vicious and undercutting cycle at their place of employment.

The bottom line and purpose of the film is compassion versus selfishness. Would you give up a large sum of bonus money in order to let compassion win and allow someone else, who has had a rough go in life, keep their job? It was clear that Sandra wanted to go back to work, but in order to get there, she had to open herself up to asking each of her coworkers individually if they would vote for her to have her job back. To us, this is so far outside the realm of really happening that we can't get passed it. It takes a special kind of asshole to say, "hey, you are super depressed and haven't been at work, but we going to let you go since we don't know if you'll ever be stable enough to work here again and will simple give everyone else a $1,000 bonus instead." If we were in Sandra's shoes, we would have punched our boss in the face and would have earned our firing. All in all, while Marion Cotillard's performance is really good and we do connect with and feel bad for her character, the movie is just too repetitive and we really couldn't get passed the premise.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

No comments:

Post a Comment