Most people would not put much credence on a relationship that begins in a club, even worse when one or both parties are drunk. Depending on your perspective at the end of “Monday,” a romantic drama by Argyris Papadimitropoulos (“Suntan,” “Wasted Youth”) that advice to avoid bar hook-ups will either be confirmed or re-evaluated. The packed party scene in an Athens night club full of a combination of work weary locals and free-spirited tourists is vibrant and sexually charged. Helping to create and perpetuate the atmosphere is American DJ, Mickey, played by Sebastian Stan. As he spins and scratches the tunes, he notices a vivacious and attractive woman dancing with no one in particular. It doesn’t take long for his friend, Argyris, to step in as matchmaker, pulling Mickey off the DJ stand and introducing him to Chloe (Denise Gough), the beguiling American woman that captured Mickey’s attention. Within seconds, a clearly drunk Chloe engulfs Mickey in a passionate embrace and kiss. Setting off sparks, the two instantly ditch the club for a nearby beach. Their naked nighttime romp lands them in a police station the next morning as clothes were not optional.
Although Chloe, who is an immigration attorney, has sobered up and declares that their one-night-stand needs to stay as just that, their are signs of weakness. Mickey is unabashedly smitten and not having it, enticing her away from a pre-scheduled flight back to America and convincing her to let their weekend romance become a relationship. Their Friday night and weekend of fun and frivolity becomes a metaphor for the magic of initial attraction. Likewise, the soberness of Monday mornings becomes its own relationship metaphor. After some time goes by, they move in, meet friends and exes, and experience each other’s flaws and phobias. This is especially true for Chloe who notices Mickey has commitment and maturity issues, in addition to a bit of a self-sabotaging nature when it comes to relationships and happiness. Are these red flags to take heed of and run from, or normal shortcomings to deal with and forge ahead?
While “Monday” is not quite as deep as other films exploring the woes and triumphs of coupledom, like old classics such as “Scenes From a Marriage” or “Kramer vs. Kramer,” or more recent contenders like, “Marriage Story” or the chatty Richard Linklater trilogy (“Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset,” “Before Midnight”), it is an enjoyable, believable and a somewhat fresh take on the genre. Writer-director Papadimitropoulos maybe doesn’t get all the aspects right of his American characters and he doesn’t flesh out a couple key scenarios, he does successfully capture a mood and mindset common between lovers. He also nails the casting. Gough and Stan have chemistry for days (or many weekends) and the two together or separately are worth the price of admission. Although Stan has a bit more notoriety than his female counterpart, neither is well-known or a celebrity, and that works in the film’s favor, lending to the authentic feel. Both are undeniably captivating in their own way and “Monday” is good enough to make for a sizzling weekend viewing.
MONDAY Opens in Select Theaters, on Digital Platforms and VOD on April 16th