Imagine this: You’re at a party in Athens, and suddenly you get introduced to the DJ who was just playing Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.” From then on, your life shifts into a new paradigm.
Monday follows a series of eventful, usually drunk Fridays, and how a relationship between two polar opposites evolves. It makes viewers immediately nostalgic for parties, being surrounded by strangers, and idyllic sceneries. The reality of Monday is always lurking, and the accompanying hangover, finally appears at the end of the film.
Chloe, played by Irish actress Denise Gough, has a tough exterior and is consumed with responsibilities; whether it be her job as a lawyer, or packing her things as she leaves Athens after eighteen months. Mickey, portrayed by Sebastian Stan, is easily charming with his sleepy confidence and spontaneity. Their relationship starts off as fun, free, and full of lust; they spend their first night together without knowing each other’s names, but are eager to learn more.
Their second morning together, Chloe asks Mickey “Do you ever think ‘What the fuck am I actually doing?’” Mickey pauses, rubs his eyes and says “No, not really. Maybe when I look in the fridge, walk away, and look back in it, then I do.” Only twenty minutes into the film, and we already learn that these two are on different wavelengths.
Director Argyris Papadimitropoulos manages to capture the genuine emotions and energy people face in a new relationship, accompanied by the charm of Athens and its surrounding islands. The party scenes are full of electricity and genuine energy, where Chloe manages to dance for the first time in ages, and Mickey gleefully DJ’s. With Stan and Gough’s immediate chemistry in a bustling city, it makes you miss the smell of a hot city at night with cigarette smoke lingering in the air, where the only thing you’re focused on is the person you’re with.
We watch Chloe and Mickey find themselves on every Friday, with Mickey slowly becoming more vulnerable, and Chloe gradually shedding her tough facade. Both have their own faults that they’re aware of, yet they can’t seem to pull away from each other. Each weekend we see more into who the characters are and their past; Chloe has a domineering ex who she’s running from, Mickey has a child who he doesn’t see, and their friend groups absolutely despise each other. Despite all that, and despite the feeling that a breakup is imminent, they can’t stay away from each other.
Monday is filled with intimate moments, showcasing all the different aspects of a new relationship; the quiet moments, the passionate ones, and the low moments. The observations made in the film by Papadimitropoulos show that the film was made from a place of heartache and brutal honesty. It shows how people with stark differences can still fumble their way through a relationship that is scary, energetic, and passionate. We, the viewers, are exposed to the genuine highs and lows of a relationship, and how passion can easily turn into toxicity, making it hard to control when there is too much love.
Papadimitropoulos is so good at catching the high’s in Monday, allowing the viewers to truly enjoy what’s happening on the screen in front of them, but falls short when he tries to scratch through the surface level of tension between the two. Mickey and Chloe are both full of raw emotion and energy, capturing the lust and passion in a new relationship. We don’t get to see them explore their issues that are shown in the film, like Mickey’s happiness with failure, or Chloe’s desire to leave Greece. By the end of the film, when we finally reach the ugliest of Mondays, it becomes hard to see if the two ever resolve their problems, or even if there is any character growth. They only grow together as a unit, rather than independently.
Stan and Gough’s charm and chemistry is the star of the film, making menial activities with your lover seem like something greater than it is. Despite both of them ending up in entanglements due to their desire for destruction, both Stan and Gough work hard to keep their characters together, much like keeping the film afloat. Albeit the cliches, including drunken declarations at a wedding, or a chase through the airport, the film can succeed. It’s so much more than the cliches; it’s the small, realistic moments of intimacy and love throughout that make the film remarkable.
Monday radiates a sense of honesty and openness, showing everything from groggy morning voices to ugly arguments. Even though most of us don’t have lives as sexy and messed up as Chloe and Mickey, it’s something we can see in ourselves. It shows how people yearn for a life altering connection, and will go through so much to just keep it together. Whether it be facing the toxicity of your relationship, or going back to the beach where it all began and trying to start over. Because let’s be real, wouldn’t you want to go back in time and have that first dance rather than face your fears?