DRAMA; 1hr 31min (French with subtitles)
STARRING: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione
Cone of silence: Rongione and Cotillard
Marion Cotillard, poised and elegant in her actual life, is a teary case here as depressed factory worker Sandra Bya, threatened with job loss after a crack-up. Sandra, medicated and parchment-frail, has one weekend to convince each of her co-workers to forgo a €1000 bonus so she can stay on. She nerves herself to face them with the support of her endlessly patient husband, Manu (Rongione), because the financial alternative for them and their two young children is a crash-burn.
So off Sandra goes, bare of makeup, her hair pulled back any old how, schlepping door-to-door in a broken plea for her life, her case not helped by the hard fact that these are people who really need their bonuses. Cotillard is piteously convincing and with Belgian filmmaker brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Kid with a Bike) behind the camera, her every encounter is compelling. The Dardennes minutely roadmap their microcosms, with each coffee cup and blade of grass accounted for. In their mosaic of details — the stalled conversations, the resigned stoop of a woman’s walk, a private smile of triumph — the most potent truths come to light.