Two Days, One Night ★★★★★

I was expecting this to be an indelible parable about empathy, and on that front I wasn't disappointed in the least. But what I hadn't bargained for was that it would also be the most convincing portrait of functional depression I've ever seen onscreen. I'm not referring to the cataclysmic, hole-up-for-days variety of movies like MELANCHOLIA, but rather the more everyday sort in which everything is passable much of the time, but life's setbacks hit harder for you than they do for most people, and once they begin they continue to pile up throughout the day, and all you can do is forge on through them until at last they become too much to bear. In the face of this, the quest by Sandra (Marion Cotillard, whose expressive eyes have never been put to better use) becomes downright heroic.

And while I was loving on this for all of the first eighty minutes, there was a small part of me that was concerned that the ending would let me down. Turns out I needn't have worried, as the Dardennes pull off a final turn of events that turns the premise on its ear while remaining completely true to what has come before. TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT isn't just one of the directors' best- it's one for the ages. It contains multitudes.