Wife and mother Sandra (Cotillard) is returning to work after a medical leave due to depression only to find out that as part of a downsizing effort, she has lost her job at a solar panel factory. Fourteen of her sixteen former co-workers voted to keep their bonuses rather than keep Sandra. Having successfully petitioned her manager for a second vote, Sandra has the weekend to rally her colleagues into changing their minds. Encouraged by her supportive husband Manu (Rongione), Sandra goes house to house in an effort to change her future.
Confronting universal issues on a strikingly intimate canvas is a Dardenne cinematic trait. Using long, unbroken takes and lengthy tracking shots, the directors place the audience in Sandra’s shoes and force us to question what our own ethics would dictate under the circumstances. Cotillard, vanishing into the working-class milieu and Belgian accent, deservedly received her second Oscar nomination, having won for “La Vie en Rose” in 2008. Shooting chronologically in their industrial hometown of Seraing, the Belgian filmmakers achieve a stunning level of verisimilitude in this affecting, ticking-clock drama.