Cotillard plays a factory worker who faces losing her job after suffering a nervous breakdown.
Here’s the official synopsis via IFC:
A universal story about working-class people living on the edges of society. Sandra (Cotillard) has just returned to work after recovering from a serious bout with depression. Realising that the company can operate with one fewer employee, management tells Sandra she is to be let go. After learning that her co-workers will vote to decide her fate on Monday morning, Sandra races against time over the course of the weekend, often with the help of her husband, to convince each of her fellow employees to sacrifice their much-needed bonuses so she can keep her job. With each encounter, Sandra is brought into a different world with unexpected results in this powerful statement on community solidarity.
If you’ve never heard of the film, there’s a good reason why.
“Two Days, One Night” is currently playing in only five US theatres.
The Belgian indie has been in theatres since Dec. 24, and, unsurprisingly, has made most of its money overseas.
The film’s recognition shouldn’t be as big of a surprise.
The movie debuted to extremely positive reviews. The Red and Black reports the film received a 15-minute standing ovation during its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.
The film has also been nominated for multiple Best Foreign Language Film awards including the BAFTAs, Cannes, Dublin Film Critics’ Circle.
At this year’s Oscars, Cotillard will go up against Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”), Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”), Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”), and Reese Witherspoon (“Wild”).
Here’s what critics have said about her performance in “Two Days, One Night”:
It is also a study in human nature. Some are open; others openly resent Sandra as a loafer on the job when she is there and the reason they weren’t getting their bonuses in the first place. Cotillard is remarkable in these moments, using even the pitch of her shoulders to let their pain, anger, fear, kindness, forgiveness wash over her.
Whether her character is popping Xanax, entreating co-workers whose problems dwarf her own, or sitting in a car listening to rock, Cotillard is magnificent, her luminous eyes reflecting a soul in crisis. The Dardennes have been creating major cinematic miracles out of minute details since La Promesse in 1996, and this film ranks with their finest.
Cotillard looks resolutely unglamorous in this film, and yet she comes across as a heroine. Sandra’s mettle, almost imperceptibly, strengthens. The Dardennes specialize in loosely framed, naturalistic-looking dreariness, but in this film their faux realism works because Cotillard gives the blahness a depth charge. She is one of the few high-profile actors they have worked with, but the glory of her performance is that she never turns it into a star turn — which makes her all the more a star.
Ms. Cotillard moves past naturalism into something impossible to doubt and hard to describe. Sandra is an ordinary person in mundane circumstances, but her story, plainly and deliberately told, is suspenseful, sobering and, in the original, fear-of-God sense of the word, tremendous.
With an Oscar nod for Best Actress, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this film start rolling out in more theatres over the next few weeks.
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