Story: Following a leave of absence for depression, Sandra finds herself still unable to pull her life back together. She receives news that her position at Solwal has been terminated following a vote by the other employees between saving her job or receiving a 1000€ bonus. While feeling completely defeated, Manu (her husband) and Juliette (her co-worker and friend) fight to set up a revote to save her job. With a new hope for her return to work, Manu and Sandra develop a plan to visit the co-workers who voted for the bonus over the course of the weekend to change their minds and earn their votes. As she starts talking to each person, she begins to go through a roller coaster of emotions, challenging her potential for advocating for her job.
Review: Though American movie-goers may not know much about the cast, Marion Cotillard (Sandra) has become a known acting quantity. Her character’s struggle with depression was clear through her performance, regardless of the amount of Xanax she consumed over such a short period of time. Each disappointment or delay had a palpable effect on her ability to keep pushing forward. While sometimes frustrating, her performance helped to highlight the challenge of living with or amongst clinical depression. Fabrizio Rongione (Manu) served as the counterpoint, with his character fighting where Sandra felt unable. While the rest of the cast presented a range of different reactions and struggles, the focus was truly on Sandra and Manu.
The premise of the film was tough to comprehend. Having a boss who actually manipulated the rest of the staff to vote to fire a coworker seems insane. Sandra was already down because of the depression, but it appeared that her boss actively was trying to make her situation even worse. Sandra barely was able to get convinced to go on the support tour, but that even had its toll. Every vote of support helped her feel more confident in her ability to return to work, but every vote against or unavailable coworker dropped her back into serious depression.
The reality of depression was made clear through this film. Sandra was at a place where she had no energy or will to even do more than drag herself out of bed. She was living on Xanax through most of the story, at times taking well more than the recommendation dosage. Manu would notice that she was relying on the drugs, but even he felt powerless to try and stop her from taking them. While she appeared to pick herself up without the drugs toward the end of the story, it ended without an opportunity to get a real sense of her life moving forward.
The story of this film was interesting but the realistic acting by Cotillard was the spotlight to be recognized.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5