Film

Review: New Love Confronts Selfishness, Immaturity and More in Intimate, Emotional Monday

I can’t promise that you’ll enjoy the new romantic drama Monday, but I can promise you a glimpse of Sebastian Stan’s little (Winter) soldier and a whole lot of his bare ass. Not to throw all of the attention on the I, Tonya star and MCU regular; his co-star, Denise Gough, is also quite naked through large swaths of Monday. They’re an attractive couple who meet in Athens, Greece, (where they both are living at the time), spend a wild and passionate weekend together, and just when she’s on the verge of leaving, he convinces her to do the most irresponsible things she can—stay to be with him in an actual relationship.

Monday

Image courtesy of the film

These two 30-something Americans living abroad have an instant connection, even though they have very little in common. Chloe (Gough) is an immigration lawyer helping immigrants living in Greece to find ways to legally stay in the country. She’s just gotten unceremoniously dumped by a local Lothario, and meets Mickey (Stan) at a party where he’s the DJ—a fairly well-known one in the area, apparently. They wake up the next morning on a nearby beach completely naked and are immediately arrested and released. Her purse is still at the party, so they agree to keep hanging out until the party house is open again, and during this time they begin to get to know and really like each other. I’m a bit of a sucker for films about the getting-to-know-each-other stage of a relationship, where everyone is on their best behavior but certain traits can’t be hidden for long.

Having lived in Athens for nearly 10 years, Mickey still lives like a college student, living in someone’s borrowed apartment, DJ’ing when he can, and seeing his young son when he can. The mother of his child can’t stand him, so his visits with his never-seen child are infrequent, and it causes him a great deal of hidden grief. Friends make the observation that Mickey isn’t ever truly happy unless he’s screwing up something good in his life, like a steady job (he makes soundtrack music and is apparently pretty good at it), a functioning relationship, or a stable exchange with an authority figure. He shirks responsibility and forgets obligations, but because he’s good looking and charming, he gets away with it most of the time. Stan plays the part with an energy and infectious weirdness that I’ve simply never seen him conquer before, and it’s refreshing when it isn’t entirely obnoxious.

Being a professional, Chloe is the one hoping to change Mickey to a degree by domesticating him, while she’s also attempting to hold down her clients in her bustling home office. But as the film progresses, it’s clear that she has growing suspicions that giving up everything to be with this man might have been a mistake. Gough (who recently appeared in The Good Traitor) is fantastic here as both a woman attempting to build a life with this man-child but also as someone who isn’t used to being an entirely free spirit and is having trouble adjusting to the lifestyle that Mickey so easily occupies.

Director Argyris Papadimitropoulos (Suntan) based a great number of moments in Monday on incidents from his own life, and certainly most of what happens here feels believable and a bit nostalgic. But it seems almost impossible to make it through this two-hour film without eventually being broken down by the sheer selfishness of these two characters and their inability to control their impulses to self destruct, even as Chloe begins to work on getting Mickey more custody of his son. You’d think that this would be the most important thing in his world (he says as much, in fact), but the two of them still manage to find a way to almost ruin the big reunion. The film is loaded with big emotions, wild public displays of both affection and crazed behavior, and the type of carelessness with another’s feelings that seems unforgivable in some instances, and it all made it truly difficult to enjoy spending time observing these fine specimens. Greece certainly looks lovely, and that might be the deciding factor to some as to whether they spend the time and money to watch Monday. The film feels wonderfully intimate at times, but that level of closeness exacts a price in return—you actually have to spend time with these people.

The film is now playing in select theaters, including Landmark Century Centre cinema, and is streaming via VOD.

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