Drama you buy. So this is about a distressed young woman (Marion Cotillard), who is in a delicate situation with her job. All of her coworkers agreed to her being let go in exchange for bonuses, and this focuses on a two day stretch where she has to lobby as hard as she can to convince enough of them to give up their extra pay so she can stay with the company. I ended up watching this almost solely because Cotillard got a best actress nomination for her performance. She’s a talented actress, and she’s great in everything, so I did have high expectations for this. Par for the course, she’s wonderful in this as well, and she puts so much of herself into this role. She is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, just trying to keep it together.
One of the rare situations where ice cream doesn’t make everything better.
The thing that I found to be pretty surprising about this is how much of this plays out like High Noon. You have this man (or woman, in this case) on a mission, going from person to person to make a case, and getting a varying number of different responses, mostly negative. “I’ll do it if everybody else is doing it.” “Money’s tight, sorry.” “My husband won’t let me.” She’s determined, but she is understanding, so she does end up taking no for an answer from a number of coworkers that turn her away. It’s repetitive, but it’s always a different answer, so it doesn’t grow stale. It’s also only 90 minutes, so it doesn’t allow you the opportunity to tire of it. Guilting these people doesn’t always work, and it’s the little moments when she’s alone where you realize just how overwhelmed she is and how close she is to breaking.
She’s a glass case of emotion, so expect a lot of this.
One thing I have to commend this film on is how it approaches depression; even today, there is still a mindset in the general public that depression isn’t a real thing, and that the afflicted person merely needs to “get over it”. This shows you front and center how real depression is by showing this poor woman’s bout with it, and you see the extent of how crippling it can be, being that she wears her emotions so plainly on her sleeve. Even though this is in French, you can tell how good Cotillard’s performance is. If you watch movies for the acting, give this one a go.
Two Days, One Night (2014) ****
– Critic for Hire