Two broken people trying to heal each other is the kind of love story we relish in and suffer through in the new film, Monday. The premise of the independent feature can only be compared to a convertible car on fire on an ethereal island and you can’t help but enjoy the view as it goes up in flames.
A Peter-Pan-Syndrome DJ, Mickey, played by Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Sebastian Stan, is introduced to a skilled lawyer, Chloe, played by Denise Gough, one hot summer night in Athens.
The immediate attraction between the pair is so palpable that before they know it, they’re waking up naked on the beach on Saturday morning. Following this whirlwind weekend of romance and sex behind the stunning backdrop of Greece, the question is raised of what happens when this couple reaches the inevitable Monday?
In the case of these two self-destructive Americans – both in their own personal limbos in a foreign country- the love story is off to the races as they plunge headfirst into a relationship.
Monday doesn’t just follow the pair over a single weekend, but a series of them once they dive off the deep-end as a couple, together throwing all caution into the wind.
Every day of this film takes place on the weekend, specifically on a Friday, as spelt out on the screen at the beginning of each new scene and experienced through the couples nonstop weekend benders that often end in nude arrests.
This continuous weekend begrudgingly hints to the dreaded day of responsibly for this man child and a woman escaping her past reality in a tropical oasis. But, before the rude awakening of real life that is Monday finally arrives, there is a lot of steamy sex on the beach in paradise.
Stan (who is one to watch for as he is currently taking on the iconic role of Tommy Lee for Hulu’s Pam and Tommy) showcases his intense charm and uncontrollable, reckless energy as a romantic lead, and Denise Gough finally gets a lead role.
This actress is also one to watch for. Starring with powerhouse performances on Broadway in both People, Places, and Things and Angels in America, with a lengthy film and TV resume dating over 15 years, it’s hard to believe this is only Gough’s first leading lady role on the screen. Just like on the stage, this actress possesses a raw and uninhibited quality that is refreshing to the silver screen. Her very physically embodied performance is uninhibited- and at times nearing unhinged.
Her character, Chloe, opens the film drunkenly coming out of a relationship with a powerful, controlling, malignant narcissist, yet somehow ends up heartbroken in bed with a narcissist of another kind, the little boy lost, Peter Pan, man child that is Mickey. As a father trying to seek custody of his estranged child matched with a woman with a law degree, she immediately and effortlessly steps into the caretaker role of helping this lost boy.
Despite her love and deep attraction for him, her lack of confidence in his ability to be a man is made clear when she secretly aborts their child as she’s helping him seek custody of his own. It raises the question why on the surface together woman is so drawn to this man child ( and narcissists in general ) and why her foil character and lover, a once womanizing playboy decided to settle down and be loyal for this woman.
It’s no fault of the heart-wrenching performances given by the actors, specifically Gough. This could have and should have been explored more with the writing, but it’s enthralling writing even still. Watch the trailer below:
Written, directed, and produced by Athens native Argyris Papadimitropoulos, this film is clearly a labor of love. The writing cuts deeply in a beautifully tragic way and the film serves as a vehicle of what these two actors are capable of that they haven’t been allotted the screen time to explore in their past projects.
You know by the title and the repetitive Fridays spelt out on the screen that Monday is coming and even with the foreshadow it’s impossible to resist the romantic and delirious vortex the lovers find themselves intoxicated within. This film is vacation sex that just doesn’t stop even when the vacation does.
As the couple’s romance quickly wanes, so does the movie, and that precisely the point. This independent film takes place almost in real time, as the audience experiences the highs and lows of an opposites attract, dysfunctional relationship fueled by connection through alcohol, thrill seeking, and endless dancing under neon lights.
The couple truly does spend most of the film delightfully drunk off sex, drugs, booze, and electric love- and takes the audience along for the ride in all its ups and downs.
Just like this film’s true to life independent style and just like real life itself, the ending leaves us in the unknown. The final scene of the film poignantly depicts the once again recently arrested couple holding hands picking up Mickey’s son from school with wide eyes filled with fear.
This moment was deeply reminiscent to the ending scene of The Graduate, as these couples come together with an unsettling uncertainty that suffocates the air as these characters carry the weight and consequences of the choices they made on a passionate whim for love.
If you’re looking for a vacation- that is if you’re looking for a rendezvous in paradise that stays far past check out time and self destructs- this new, refreshing indie from IFC was made just for you.
The film is now available to rent on Amazon prime, YouTube, Apple TV, YouTube, Vudu, and Google play.
Megan Penn reports on the indie film market and anything that empowers women and underrepresented groups.