Sunday, May 9, 2021

Review: Love and Reality Clash in the Passion of ‘Monday’ Starring Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough

Simple love stories are overrated.

Monday follows the whirlwind romance of Sebastian Stan’s Mickey and Denise Gough’s Chloe, two Americans in their mid-thirties who meet at a party while living in Athens. After spending a wild weekend together, Chloe cancels her flight back to the U.S. and the two make the spontaneous decision to invest in their electric chemistry. Written by Rob Hayes and Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Monday isn’t a magical, fairytale love story (though the dreamy, gorgeous backdrop of the film would say otherwise). Monday is an unfiltered and honest look at a tumultuous kind of love that tears you apart and puts you back together in a single breath.

The film opens with a thrum of energy, immediately pulling viewers into the clutches of a wild backyard party. Without beating around the bush, Mickey and Chloe dive headfirst into their connection moments after they’re introduced, kindling sparked by the meeting of lips in a shower of confetti. From there, the two are firmly caught in one another’s orbits as they stumble, laugh, smile, kiss, and make love throughout the course of the weekend. The writing and Papadimitropoulos’ directing do an excellent job at capturing the dreamy, otherworldly feel of this phenomenon — the soft, awkward, and thrilling feeling of newness.

IFC Films

Once Chloe makes the spontaneous decision to ditch her new job in the U.S. and moves in with Mickey instead, the real games begin. The narrative unfurls in a frank manner, abruptly lowering the rose-tinted glasses that painted the landscape of their lustful introduction and reminding audiences that these two hardly know one another. Mickey and Chloe swiftly oscillate between the intensity of their attraction to one another and abrupt moments of clarity when their quarrels take center stage. Despite the fact that there are fundamental differences between them as people, there’s a magnetic energy that draws them back together time and time again.

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Stan and Gough handle this beautifully, effortlessly switching back and forth between moments of intimacy, happiness, anger, and sadness. There’s obvious chemistry and trust between both actors, which allows them both to present both the good and bad sides of Mickey and Chloe’s story in such a raw, genuine, and naked (literally) manner. Mickey and Chloe are changing tides that rest on different shores, meeting in the middle and overlapping in a twist of passion. As one weekend together turns to many, their relationship ebbs and flows like an eternal cycle of Mondays.

Monday isn’t a feel-good film, and that’s entirely the point. We’re meant to feel the whiplash as our leads fall into bed with one another time and time again, flying around the corners of discomfort and friction and narrowly sideswiping the looming presence of reality. Do Mickey and Chloe love each other? Yes. But that’s not always enough.

The steady buildup of turmoil finally boils over in the film’s final act as Mickey and Chloe embark on an unhinged, unfettered, and dizzying bender that gives their first evening together a run for its money. And yet, when the dust clears on yet another weekend for the two, it’s not just smoke and ash that remains of their relationship. Instead, Mickey and Chloe grasp on to one last dying ember, and the credits roll with an air of ambiguity as the two stand side by side. It’s for viewers to then determine if they’ll beat the odds, learn from their mistakes, continue to grow, and essentially let their relationship rise like a phoenix of sorts, or if they’ll give and finally give in to the whims of what Mondays may or may not have been trying to tell them all along.

Monday will premiere in select theaters, on digital platforms, and VOD this Friday, April 16.

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Lindsey
Lindsey
Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. She has spent a large portion of her life dedicated to her first love, photography. When she's not behind the camera, she's likely reading books and comics or dabbling in creative writing. Otherwise, she's probably yelling about something Star Wars or Marvel related on Twitter @lindyysolo. Contact: lindsey@nerdsandbeyond.com

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