Review by Camden Ferrell
Monday had its premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. This is the fourth feature film from writer/director Argyris Papadimitropoulos. While the leads are charming, the film feels too repetitive and not insightful enough into relationships to be memorable.
Mickey and Chloe are two Americans in Greece who come together after a night of spontaneous passion. We then see this summer fling expand into something more as we see this couple try and maintain their love through the trials and tribulations of life. It’s a simple and sweet premise that is evocative of other romance films.
The script by Rob Hayes and Papadimitropoulos is adequate if nothing else. There isn’t any profound or insightful dialogue, but it does occasionally excel at naturalistic dialogue. The writing is at its best when we are watching the simple connection between the two lovers, but it doesn’t do as well when trying to progress the plot and events surrounding these characters.
The acting is the highlight of the film. The movie is led by Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough. From the start, they have impeccable chemistry, and this remains fairly consistent throughout the film. They play off of each other really well, and this is true even in the scenes of tension and drama. When the script is lacking, you can usually count on them still being able to carry the scene in a believable way.
The movie has the potential to say a lot about self-destructive couples and the downside of passion, and it briefly touches on it, but it doesn’t give it the consideration it warrants. The characters are borderline unlikeable, and this paves the way for some great themes, but it also fails to expound on that. It doesn’t fully explore the destructive capabilities of their romance in a way that feels palpable or significant.
For what the film lacks in its themes, it makes up for in its passion. It is an undeniably sensual film that builds off of the chemistry of its leads. There is lots of onscreen passion to elevate the relationship, which is handled gracefully by Stan and Gough. It is interesting to see their relationship progress over an indeterminate period of time even if it feels hollow as a whole.
The movie can often find itself feeling repetitive by design, but it still creates an inconsistent and somewhat bland story that doesn’t do its characters justice. There are a handful of side characters that feel unnecessary, and it fails to recognize its most valuable assets and its potential themes. It’s not bad, but it is disappointing considering the talent involved in the film.
Monday is a passionate albeit underwhelming film about a summer romance that becomes much more than that. Stan and Gough are captivating leads, but they are brought down by the script and repetitive execution of the film.
Monday is in select theaters and on VOD April 16.