I have yet to meet someone who loves a Monday. The start of the work week, the signifier of the end of the weekend, Mondays are literally the worst. While Monday, from director and writer Argyris Papadimitropoulos, is not the worst dramatic romance, it definitely resonates with the feeling of that dreaded day of the week.
While Monday provides an in-depth – and I mean in-depth, clocking in at almost 2 hours – examination of the highs and pitfalls of love, at first sight, its story continues for too long at times, leeching both sympathy and patience from its audience, frequently threatening to lose the hold it constantly needs to reestablish.
The Inevitability of Monday
Monday opens to the high intensity, pulsating beat of a dance club, a young inebriated woman clearly upset as she calls out Christos on the phone for not showing up right before she is about to leave. There is a sense of urgency set, a framework of limitations put into place for the film to work around. It’s Friday night in Athens, and while this is her night to say goodbye, for others it is their time to say “hello”.
As the camera pans, eventually working its way through the crowd in an almost drug-induced single take, there is an energy that radiates, the camera settling in on a young DJ – who has been unable to take his eyes off the woman. While he stays close to his turntable, his friend pushes him to introduce himself. Sparks fly, and the two leave the party together.
As the sun rises the next morning, both Mickey (Sebastian Stan) and Chloe (Denise Gaugh) awaken to a newfound possibility for themselves, but with Chloe’s impending departure, their spark-filled evening threatens to turn into a one-night stand.
There is a naivety in the relationship between Mickey and Chloe, a world without consequences – any that could arise easily swept under the rug. They are constantly on the edge, teetering between success as a couple or a crumbling ruin of a relationship. They want to trust but are unable and unwilling to take the steps to completely commit to one another, yet they will push each other to satisfy a presumed commitment. Chloe pigeonholing herself into a relationship so Mickey can get his son back, Mickey burning her favorite couch – there is a push and pull that threatens to implode at any moment.
Much of their intimacy is limited to the frequent romps in the sack, as well as the constant overindulgence to recapture the night that they met. And it is not just in the relationship, but the subconscious self-prescribed idea of value, Mickey destroying everything good that comes into his life, Chloe constantly making sacrifices of self to satisfy and maintain. It is a deeply heartbreaking relationship to watch both evolve and fracture at the same time.
And while the film is promoted as a “sizzling weekend” and the inevitability of “Monday”, the relationship between Mickey and Chloe matches the dreaded routine of weekday to weekend. No matter who or what you are feeling, life continues on and commitments are expected to be followed through. And as the week falls into the weekend, so too does their love – until Monday snaps them back into reality.
Roller coaster of Technicality
Honestly, as depressing as its subject matter is, the idea behind the film is solid, many times resonating with the highly successful classic Before Sunrise. The film plays with the lighting of the film well, utilizing the sun to reflect the hopefulness between the two lovers and the lights of the clubs emulating the high energy addiction of newfound love. The film shines most on a technical level when the lighting around the characters engulfs them, elevating the moments.
Sebastian Stan and Denis Gough work to create the chemistry between them, at times succeeding while at others seemingly empty in their connection. You want them to connect as much as the characters are failing to, but there is a void of space between them that is hard to shake at times. Individually, they flourish more, the struggle in the relationship building. clearly visible in the moments they are free of one another. There is a pain they push away, forcing themselves to embrace and move forward with the relationship – avoiding the inevitable Monday – and Stan and Gough encapsulate the emotions well.
Where Monday begins to lose the majority of its shine is in the length and pace of the film. Scenes are too often drawn-out, packed with moments that could have been reduced to dialogue and deductive reasoning by the audience. Many times it felt as though the film leaned more into the hand-holding narratives, while also filling a predetermined runtime. And unfortunately, it leaves viewers anticipating the end rather than enjoying the ride.
Monday provides an in-depth look at the pitfalls of relationships and the self-destructing nature each individual brings both for themselves and each other. Yet, as captivating of an examination it is, the film constantly threatens to lose its audience, its pace, and lack of empathy for its characters disconnecting. The inevitability of Monday has found this film.
Have you seen Monday? What did you think? We want to know!
Monday will be released in select theaters and on VOD on April 16, 2021.
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