Review: Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough are steamy lovers in tacky romantic drama 'Monday'
Courtesy of IFC Films
Two young, inseparable lovers who coalesce in Athens, Greece and wake up naked and unsure of their surroundings is the mantra in Argyris Papadimitropoulos sexy but gooey romantic drama “Monday.” Sebastian Stan, flexing his dramatic chops away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and upcoming “Game of Thrones” prequel star Denise Gough make a compelling pair and manifest plenty of sexual chemistry most love stories yearn to capture, though its tackier and cliched fundamentals aren’t lost on the viewer. Sure, the obligatory airport chase sequence is present, but it happens 30 minutes into the picture. A conventional tactic Papadimitropoulos repackages in a tragic narrative of two star-crossed lovers who probably shouldn’t be together but find themselves by chance.
And that spontaneity peppered in “Monday” is what gives it some spark: Chloe (Gough) is an immigration lawyer on vacation overseas who just hopped off a nasty cell-phone break-up when she meets Mickey (Stan), a free-wheeling DJ spinning Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” at a disco party they’re both attending. You know the rest: they lock eyes, ditch the scene, and bang the night away. When they awaken the next morning, the rules of a one-night engagement are thrown out and Mickey spends two days convincing Chloe to stay in Greece with him. She does and their commitment, at first, is charming – a scene where the two move a gigantic, oddly-shaped sofa into Mickey’s tiny apartment is silly, light-hearted fun – but the rational individual in the room understands things have to go off-the-rails sooner or later.
We see cracks when Mickey and Chole’s friends meet in a hostile exchange, and their professional careers collide unexpectedly. They both work from home which proves testy, and then you have the minor detail of Mickey’s six-year son whom he’s trying to regain custody (a subplot that doesn’t earn its weight). Without these sequences of events, “Monday” wouldn’t be a film because who wants to see a drama about two people who love each other! The red flags are only the beginning and Papadimitropoulos doesn’t let up and it becomes a crutch with each passing moment. Even as Chole and Mickey try to keep that romantic desire alive, with binge drinking, parties, and drug escapades, “Monday” can’t steer away from the inevitable.
“Monday” doesn’t so much resolve the conflict but leave audience in a confused state of uncertainty. Stan and Gough have the screen presence to sell their tumultuous relationship, except their characters are locked inside tight constrains. When Chloe – after two hours of watching Mickey’s careless attitude drive the picture – gets to think for herself and question the relationship, it’s compulsive and doesn’t pack an emotional zest. That mentality sums up “Monday,” an amicable film which relies too densely on familiar troupes and not enough personality.
MONDAY is now playing in Select Theaters, and is available on Digital Platforms and VOD.