Chloe (Denise Gough) is an immigration lawyer coming out of a breakup. Mickey (Sebastian Stan) is a DJ who plays disco.
They’re Americans in Greece, thrown together impulsively on a Friday night with a passionate kiss that leads to them naked on the beach by Saturday morning when a ride in the backseat of a squad car seems like a good enough time as any to introduce themselves.
Saturday is also the day Chloe intends on packing so she can get out of Greece for good. Mickey has other plans.
One romantic airport plea later, and Mickey and Chloe are moving forward at full speed.
If you’ve ever had a one-night stand, then you know that they typically last one night for a reason. Dancing, drinking, and pulse-pounding music ignites sexual energy that is easily satisfied with a mysterious and good-looking stranger. Then, in the light of day, things begin to look a lot different.
But for Mickey, who, as an ex-girlfriend says, only feels truly happy when he’s failing, throwing caution to the wind makes sense, and Chloe’s all too eager to go along.
Monday unfolds over a series of Fridays with Chloe and Mickey clinging desperately to each other, trying to make the best of their impulsive decision.
The baseline for their relationship is sex, and the film relies on those moments to drive home its message that these two belong together. There is a lot of nudity, and from that aspect, they’re a beautiful couple.
The same can’t be said for their romance, which is never fully realized outside of their sizzling sexual chemistry. With their penchant for exhibitionism, they’re alive, but when they’re alone and dressed, their connection fizzles.
Never was it more apparent than when they have competing client appointments in their small, shared apartment.
As Chloe tries to assist a man with his legal options regarding immigration, a rather serious issue, Mickey is in the adjoining room trying to sell a jingle he has written with his partner to an unsatisfied client.
You’d think that on some Monday through Thursday, such topics would have been addressed, but after their appointments ended badly, it was clear that they hadn’t shared the significance of their work with each other.
Their relationship suffered all of the pitfalls that every relationship falls prey to, including jealousy, sharing chores, and shared responsibilities, but while we see the arguments that ensue, we’re never privy to equally important moments that show why they’re investing in each other.
Interestingly, it’s easy to see on-screen why you might be attracted to either Chloe or Mickey individually, but it’s not so easy to see why they might be attracted to each other.
As the stakes increase, their connection frays and they resort to their basest instincts to stay together.
The film ends much as it began, but the breezy feeling of excitement and attraction is weighed down with commitment and anxiety. As the curtain falls, it’s hard to imagine they’re going to go the distance—actually, you kind of hope they don’t.
Stan and Gough do as much as they can with incomplete characters. Without them, we’d know even less about Mickey and Chloe. Without seeing the script, it’s hard to know whether some of the depth landed on the cutting room floor.
But with what we know, the leads are the draw, along with the overall atmosphere of the film, which evokes an easy, breezy time in our world that feels so very long ago with crowded, frenetic parties and casual sex almost a relic of the past in 2021.
Director Argyris Papadimitropoulos created the film from a position of love, not of the characters but his country, modeling parties on those he personally throws annually and settings a portion of the film on the island where he’s spent the last 25 summers.
As Mickey and Chloe discover, though, there is a lot more to any relationship than passion and good looks, and beautiful scenery doesn’t lend itself to the deeper conversation, which is lacking in the case of Monday.
Ultimately, Monday perfectly evokes its title. It’s not the fresh excitement of a weekend but the resolute realization that you have a wait ahead of you before you feel that carefree again.
MONDAY opens in select theaters, on digital platforms, and VOD on April 16th
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.