April 13th, 2021
STARRING: SEBASTIAN STAN, DENISE GOUGH, YORGOS PIRPASSOPOULOS
DIRECTED BY: ARGYRIS PAPADIMITROPOULOS
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
In the early parts of Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ Monday we see the cliched moments of a classic rom-com. There’s the meet-cute (although it’s brief), there’s the romantic phase where two characters are head-over-heels for one another, and there is even the boy chasing after the girl at the airport, telling her to stay with him. But it is what happens after those moments that movies never show, but not Monday, as it shows what a relationship is like after the spark. Sebastian Stan is Mickey and Denise Gough is Chloe, where the two meet at a wild party, and wake up naked on the beach the next day, which is just the start of their beautiful, tumultuous relationship. Monday is about two lovers, both on different wavelengths, trying to keep the fire going in this romantic and complicated drama.
One of the factors that Monday has right is the passion for living that these two people have. Co-written by Rob Hayes and Papadimitropoulous, there’s an obvious connection for the lifestyle and freedom in the culture of living in Greece. As for the Mickey character, Stan’s performance is good, approaching it as a man sophomoric to his responsibilities. He’s a DJ that moved from America eight years ago, has enjoyed spending his nights consuming alcohol with friends, and dancing till the sun rises. He also has a 6-year old son he rarely sees. When we meet Chloe she’s an immigration lawyer that has just broken up with her boyfriend, played by the unique looking, and enigmatic Gough. Her character has often been responsible, but when Mickey’s friend Argyris (Yorgos Pirpassopoulos) introduces the two, she throws caution to the wind, taking the risk with a man she’s just started to know.
On the surface of Monday and a major reason why I enjoyed this film is living vicariously through these two. The carefree living, with wild drunken nights, including multiple dance sequences to Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, and a moving party that turns into a bonfire of Chloe’s old couch. Underneath the vicarious escape, are two people navigating life’s complexities. It’s when things calm down when Mickey and Chloe have to face one another, without the inhibition of a substance, and we see that these are two people that may have needed more time before jumping in. It’s even evident in the seperate sides of friends, where Chloe’s friendships enjoy conversations and Mickey’s buddies are still pulling pranks for a dumb laugh. The yin and yang performances from Stan and Gough becomes the kind of couple you are cheering for, wanting the love to last, and Mickey to not screw it up.
What hangs over the sex and fun lifestyle is Mickey’s son and the second half of Monday becomes a moment of easing down the energy, where he is given joint custody of his son, and now Chloe is just as involved in helping him make it right. The narrative structure from Papadimitropoulous is an interesting wave of emotions, reminding me of fractured relationship films such as Blue Valentine, By the Sea, Eyes Wide Shut, and most recently Long Weekend. For as good as Sebastian Stan is, the true highlight is Gough’s performance, emotional in all the right beats, charismatic, and stylish, she works well as the frustrated voice, battling against living like a teenager when responsibility is necessary.
As far as the runtime is concerned it’s accurate to say that Monday starts to outwear it’s welcome, repeating itself too much, and an ending that will either piss off or please the audience. Either way, it’s the chemistry between the two lovers, a beautiful romance that has us rooting for them, and laughing when they throw caution to the wind. Monday is a depiction of a different kind of relationship, two people clinging to the spark, trying to live every day like it’s a weekend of fun. Sadly, there’s always a Monday that comes around and that’s when life comes at you fast.
MONDAY IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS, DIGITAL PLATFORMS. AND ON DEMAND APRIL 16TH FROM IFC FILMS
Written by: Leo Brady