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Monday (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

MONDAY (2020)

Starring Sebastian Stan, Denise Gough, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Michalis Laios, Michalis Alexakis, Giorgos Valais, Vangelis Mourikis, Fivos Kontogiannis, Electra Gouzeli, Dimitris Dermousis, Yiannis Xintaras, Stratis Kouinis, Amalia Zacharopoulou, Chrysanthi Tsoukala, Elias Ledakis, Panagos Ioakeim, Irini Aivaliotou, Grigoris Sarantis and Dominique Tipper.

Screenplay by Rob Hayes and Argyris Papadimitropoulos.

Directed by Argyris Papadimitropoulos.

Distributed by IFC Films. 115 minutes. Not Rated.

Some couples are just meant for each other. I’m not sure that anyone would consider Mickey (Sebastian Stan) and Chloe (Denise Gough) in that category. Still, they try hard – perhaps too hard – to make it work.

They are two strangers in their late 30s who meet cute at a 70s disco night house party in the outskirts of Athens, Greece. Mickey is working as the DJ. Chloe is a guest who has just broken up with her smarmy businessman boyfriend. (Chloe is a freelance immigration attorney. Who even knew that was a thing?)

Mickey’s outgoing (and slightly obnoxious) friend thinks that since they are the only two Americans at the party that they would hit it off, so he pushes them together. At first, they are kind of offended by the crass hookup. Then, less than a minute in they are kissing. The next morning, they wake up naked on the beach, where they are arrested for indecent exposure.

Oops. That’s the recipe for a successful relationship.

The problem is, there is a reason that couplings like this are called one-night stands. They are not supposed to last. However, in Monday, our lead characters think that is the entrée for an actual relationship. After zipping up the zipless fuck, they spend some time together. And suddenly they start to think that this may work out, long-term. He talks her out of moving back to the US – which was supposed to be happening the very next day – and she moves in with him, even though they barely know each other.

All they really seem to have in common is drinking too much and a near-constant need for sex. He hates her friends. She hates his. His friends hate her friends, and vice versa. They are both coming off ugly breakups. He’s an overgrown adolescent. She’s way too serious about most things, except for when she is drunk or horny, which happens all too often. In fact, I never, ever thought I would say this about any movie, but honestly eventually Monday has too much sex for its own good. Like, give it a break you two. Do we need to turn a hose on you?

Stan (who is best known for playing Captain America’s best friend Bucky in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Gough (an Irish actress with many impressive stage credits) are both terrific actors and bring very different but interesting vibes to their characters. The problem is that even though they are playing a couple who is passionately drawn to each other – and they claim to love each other – the actors have little romantic, or even sexual, chemistry.

They always seem like an odd couple, and that is even before they start fighting nearly constantly. In fact, eventually the film seems to alternate between three basic modes (sometimes more than one at once) – the two of them argue, the two of them go to a club or party and get drunk and embarrass the other, the two of them have raw sex, often in public.

It doesn’t help that the script tries to slip in as many romantic comedy cliches as possible even though the movie isn’t particularly romantic or funny – including the old “running to catch someone at the airport before they fly away” trope, and perhaps the most ridiculous high-speed police chase in film history.

On the plus side, the scenery of Greece is truly stunning. Monday would be worth watching as just a travelogue of Athens and the neighboring areas.

I just wish that the couple at the heart of Monday – and let’s face it, they are the only major characters in the film – weren’t so hard to warm up to, both as individual characters and as a couple. They keep saying they love each other, but you often get the feeling that while they may really think they feel that way, they don’t particularly seem to like each other. Even the sex is often sad, sordid and desperate.

I get the fact that they are trying to make this film into something of an anti-romance. In fact, Monday has perhaps the most uncomfortable final shot of a supposedly happy couple since The Graduate. The problem is that film was much better, much more cynical and had a lot more to say about the characters and life than Monday.

In a strange way, I think the filmmakers want the audience to root for this couple to make it, even though they are all wrong for each other. I’m sorry, but that was just too much of a stretch for me.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: April 15, 2021.


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