Just about anyone who has experienced workplace life will relate to the Dardenne brothers’ brilliant new film.
In this Belgian film Marion Cotillard plays Sandra, who is about to return to work in a solar panel factory following a breakdown.
It’s a difficult enough time for her. But it gets worse, with news that the boss has forced the rest of the workforce to choose between their bonuses and her job.
The majority vote to take their bonus. But her friend convinces the boss that there should be a secret ballot the following Monday.
Sandra has a chance to persuade her colleagues to vote for her job—but she only has the weekend to do so.
The film follows Sandra as she makes her way round her workmates’ houses and tries to win them over.
They all struggle to make ends meet, despite working full time. We see how people live and what pressures they face.
But away from the collectivity of the workplace, Sandra’s request is even harder to support.
Most feel torn—they want to stand by Sandra, but need their bonus too. Some surprising decisions are made. Everyone is changed by the experience, most of all Sandra.
Cotillard movingly portrays the mental anguish she experiences, struggling to overcome hopelessness and despair.
The film brilliantly captures how capitalism isolates and divides workers, but also provides the basis for unity and solidarity.
It is crucially a story of transformation—how things, especially ourselves, can change through struggle.