Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Two Days, One Night’ (2014)

IFC Films

IFC Films

The work world is notoriously time-obsessed. One toils a certain number of days and hours, gets a certain amount of time as vacation and, depending on the employer, may be required to punch a time card to prove accountability. How fitting then, that in Two Days, One Night, a woman has only a limited period of time in which to get her job back.

Written and directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the movie, set in a working-class region in Belgium, tells the story of Sandra (Marion Cotillard), a woman who has just lost her job at a manufacturing company. The circumstances of her becoming unemployed are not so simple.

Recently on medical leave for depression, Sandra, a mother of two young children with a supportive husband (Fabrizio Rongione), has returned to her job to learn that she has been turned into something of a brass ring. She has been let go, based on a ballot conducted by her colleagues who will, as a result of her termination, finally receive the bonus that management had been promising.

However, her supervisor says he’ll consider a second ballot. This means Sandra has one critical weekend to make a convincing case to her colleagues before the new vote on Monday. However, she’s fully aware they need every euro they can get their hands on and would be hard put to surrender that extra bit of cash. As one character tells her, “I didn’t vote against you; I voted for my bonus.”

Although Sandra’s meeting with all 16 of her work mates, one on one, sounds as though it might be a visual slog, her odyssey – one of emotional resilience and dogged persistence – is surprisingly dynamic, given the challenge her recent illness. Fact is, under her rough tee-shirt-and-jeans attire, with bra straps exposed, Sandra is an elegant presenter of her case, and in one scene eliciting a heartbreaking outburst from a co-worker (Timur Magomedgadzhiev).

Ultimately, Two Days, One Night is about one woman’s quest to negotiate re-entry into employment, a task tied to balance and, more significantly, Venusian values. Sandra must convince all her co-workers of her value to them – that they would fare better with her on their team than if they took bonuses. The outcome speaks to her integrity, and is a fitting end to this heroine’s journey.

Archetype: Negotiator. Values.

Astrology Archetype: ♀ (Venus)

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