Marion Cotillard has Two Days, One Night to save her job

Marion Cotillard’s rich performance is the primary asset of Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit), a domestic drama in which she portrays a woman fighting for her livelihood.

Married and the mother of two small children, Cotillard’s Sandra has recently bested a bout with depression — or so she thinks — when she is informed that her position at work has been terminated, the matter having been voted upon by her co-workers, who will each earn a bonus with her gone.

As the film’s title implies, Sandra spends a desperate weekend trying to convince her bosses and co-workers to hold another, secret ballot on Monday morning, hoping against all hope that they’ll forgo the bonus on her behalf.

Written and directed by the Dardenne brothers (Luc and Jean-Pierre), who also produced with Denis Freyd, Two Days, One Night provides Cotillard ample opportunity to convey her considerable dramatic range as she repeatedly pleads her case to her co-workers. Fabrizio Rongone is sympathetic as Sandra’s husband Manu, but this is Cotillard’s show all the way, and it’s hardly surprising she snared an Oscar nomination as Best Actress.

The film is threatened by a late-inning suicide attempt that veers too far into melodrama and ultimately has little impact on the outcome of the story. The film would have lost nothing without it and might even have gained a little more. (In French with English subtitles) !