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Sandra petitions her boss to take the vote again on Monday morning, once she has had a chance to talk to her co-workers, and spends her Saturday and Sunday visiting them in turn, making her case, appealing to their sense of solidarity.
It’s a warm summer weekend, which means Sandra is fighting for her future in jeans and a vest top.
Marion Cotillard is the great silent film actress of our time.
True, she has yet to make a silent film and may never actually do so, but let’s not get hung up on technicalities.
In the film, Cotillard is angular and eccentric; a twitchy tessellation of knees and fingers.
Standing in the spotlight in her white stage make-up, she looks almost Chaplinesque.
The film contains the best scene Cotillard has ever done: after making love with Ali, Stéphanie sits on her roof terrace in her wheelchair and, for the first time since her accident, runs through her old whale training commands.
At first, she moves hesitantly, but as her confidence builds her smile tightens, and her gestures become punches of defiance – reverse lightning, striking upwards from the ground to the sky.
Fortunately, a month-long rehearsal period for Two Days, One Night allowed Cotillard the chance to acclimatise – “melt in”, is how she puts it – to the brothers’ unusual way of working.The real life Cotillard is so different from the version of her we see on screen that she could almost be her younger, shier sister, or perhaps a work experience Cotillard-in-training.When we meet in an apartment in the Ham Yard Hotel in the West End of London, she’s barefoot, sitting cross-legged on a sofa, quiet and small, with a smile as soft as butter.Her Public Enemies fur stole and scarlet slip-dress, gorgeous as they were, would be all wrong here. There are two good reasons for this: namely the film’s writers and directors, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.The Dardennes are brothers from Belgium who specialise in dramas set on society’s fraying edge, just a thread or two away from documentary.