In the film “Between Two Worlds,” Juliette Binoche portrays Marianne Winckler, a woman facing financial hardships in the Normandy region of France. The film begins with Marianne visiting an unemployment center, where she appears timid and confused, emphasizing her abilities as a team player in order to secure a minimum wage job. Through a voice-over narration, it is revealed that Marianne, who is actually an investigative journalist, has taken on an undercover role to expose the exploitation of low-income workers, particularly women working night shifts for private sanitation companies.
The movie is loosely based on the book “The Night Cleaner” (2010) by Florence Aubenas, a French journalist who lived a double life as a cleaner on an English Channel ferry. However, “Between Two Worlds,” written by Emmanuel Carrère and Hélène Devynck, deviates from the source material by introducing a fictional storyline. Marianne, driven by her desire to expose injustices within the system, grapples with the guilt of keeping her true identity a secret from her co-worker Christèle, a single mother with a rebellious nature. The casting further reinforces this divide, as the typically glamorous Binoche acts alongside nonprofessional actors.
Carrère, primarily known in Europe for his nonfiction writing with a touch of literary flair, adopts a cool and sober tone to depict Marianne’s shocking discoveries. In one particularly challenging job, she is forced to make over 100 beds in less than two hours. However, the sentimental crisis that arises due to Marianne’s deception feels less compelling. It serves only to remind viewers that advocacy work often leads to a self-absorbed portrayal of the main character.
Overall, “Between Two Worlds” delves into the precarious reality faced by low-income workers and sheds light on the exploitation they endure. While the film effectively showcases Marianne’s investigative journey, it falls short in exploring the emotional toll her deception takes on those around her. Nevertheless, Binoche’s performance, alongside the inclusion of nonprofessional actors, adds authenticity to the narrative. “Between Two Worlds” serves as a thought-provoking exploration of social justice issues and their impact on individuals struggling to navigate the boundaries between truth and deception.
“Between Two Worlds” is not rated and is presented in French with subtitles. The film has a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes and is currently showing in theaters.