If money makes the world go 'round, the lack of it keeps things interesting and vital. Wonderbrothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Kid With a Bike) return with a tale of heroic struggle against an ordinary disaster. A thoroughly deglammed Marion Cotillard plays Sandra, a woman who returns from a depression-related work leave to find she's been voted out of a job. Her co-workers had to choose between keeping her or getting their much-needed bonuses, and even Sandra declares their self-interest "normal." But normal isn't the same as right, and Sandra's friend and super-supportive husband join the fight to get her to fight for her job. What follows is a quiet trial-by-ordeal: Sandra visiting, in person and over a single weekend, all those who have voted to give her the boot, and asking them to reconsider before Monday's re-vote. The up-close vision of her struggle — the stress and fatigue in her frame, the frustration and humiliation in her eyes, the self-doubt and despair in her voice even as she remains civil and understanding, the persistence in the face of stubborn and coordinated opposition — is her greatest weapon. (It's hard to imagine an Internet campaign being nearly as affecting or insistent.) It's also the best reason to put a story like this one on film. (2014) — Matthew Lickona
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