This tense and affecting drama from two-time Palme d’Or winners the Dardenne brothers depicts the weekend-long crusade of a working-class woman to be reinstated in her job. Marion Cotillard is riveting in the central role.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard joins two-time Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne in this gripping drama of a woman’s campaign to keep her job. Experts surmise that it was only the two previous wins that came between such a stunning film and awards-night glory at Cannes this year.
“A tense dramatic situation and a subtly magnificent central performance from Marion Cotillard add up to an outstanding new movie from the Dardenne brothers: impassioned, exciting and moving – a Twelve Angry Men of the 21st-century workplace. Cotillard plays Sandra, a married woman with children, who returns to work at a solar panel factory after a breakdown, only to find that the management have effectively made her the sacrificial victim of a Sophie’s Non-Choice offered to the rest of the staff.
While she’s been away, they have realised that the work can be achieved without her, so now they’re proposing to fire Sandra and make everyone else work that bit harder, with a 1,000-euro bonus as a sweetener. Desperately, Sandra forces her duplicitous staff rep… to institute a vote – do they want their bonus or their colleague Sandra? The vote’s on Monday morning, so Sandra must spend the weekend touring around, canvassing door-to-door, and endure the mortifying ordeal of begging her co-workers for her own job back, people who desperately need this ‘bonus’ to get by… It is another great performance from Marion Cotillard… She is compelling and moving – and so is the film.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian