Monday Review: Stan and Gough are endlessly engaging in this rollercoaster relationship flick
The latest film to come out of IFC Films, writer/director Argyris Papadimitropoulus’ Monday, is a rollercoaster relationship flick with two immaculate lead performances that make it endlessly engaging.
The film is set in Athens, Greece, which is made incredibly lively and gorgeous through Christos Karamanis’ cinematography, where we find two Americans that quickly fall for each other. The meeting of Mickey (Sebastian Stan), a well-known local DJ, and Chloe (Denise Gough), an immigration lawyer, is like a fated one night stand that has them waking up on the beach naked together. Most interactions like this would simply end there and be labeled as “a night of fun,” however there’s something different about Mickey and Chloe’s night of fun. Sparks flew for them like never before and they begin to develop a relationship that embodies the fun energy of the Friday night they met as well as the harsh realities that come when that eventual Monday comes around.
Monday’s greatest strengths are in the energy and chemistry that Stan and Gough have. There’s an instant attachment you have to Mickey and Chloe’s whirlwind romance because of how good the good vibes feel. They have such a youthful energy to them that’s incredibly likeable and the early moments of their relationship are super easy to love because of how refreshing and real it feels. They bring each other out of their shell a bit and keep each other grounded in ways that make their love feel genuine. It’s in large part due to how truly excellent Stan and Gough are throughout the entire film with how they hit a great range of emotions together and feel fully committed to the wild romance that Mickey and Chloe have. It’s endlessly compelling to watch them do anything in this film and they really draw you into every moment of Mickey and Chloe’s love – both the good and the bad.
As much as the good is great in their relationship, it’s not without the bad and it’s interesting how the film creates a unique perspective in the “bad” of their relationship. Most romances in films eventually hit a rough patch, but with Monday Papadimitropoulus creates an interesting perspective on love with it constantly making you wonder if their relationship is real to both of them and just an elongated weekend fling. Sure, they constantly have passionate sex and moments that show how much of kindred spirits they really are, but there’s always this persisting thought if things are moving too fast or if there’s really anything there. I remember there was this one line pretty late into the film about how they had only been together for six months that was like a giant wake-up call to how infantile their relationship really is and how many outside pressures they really have.
Their careers, hidden feelings about themselves and their relationship together, and even how them staying together plays a role in Mickey being able to see his son creates this strain in their relationship that shows their flaws. Now, the flaws that it shows unfortunately don’t hold a lot of weight because the film moves so fast through their relationship to the next weekend that there isn’t much exploration into these characters. Things like Mickey’s self-destructive mindset and a choice that Chloe makes because of how unsure she is about their relationship don’t get explored enough to create a great depth for these two or their relationship. Chloe’s tumultuous past relationship that initially sent her into Mickey’s arms doesn’t even get explored all that much. Even the ending suffers from a lack of exploration with how sudden and underwhelming it is. None of this takes away some of the impact their relationship has or the great performances from Stan and Gough, but it keeps Monday from being a strong character-driven narrative.
Although its lack of deep storytelling and character exploration keep it from being a truly unique look at whirlwind romance, there’s something special about Monday with its absolutely touching performances from Stan and Gough and interesting ideas.