Movie Review: Monday (2021)

Now on demand from IFC Films.

This is the film that happens after an unlikely pair Meets Cute, after the guy gets girl, after he intercepts her at the airport to go ahead and stay. Set in a gorgeously shot Athens, Greece, as a boozy sun-drenched party paradise, Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ kinetic drama Monday (C+) propels its appealing thirtysomething American expat leads into immediate lust and leaves most of the film for figuring out if they’re even remotely right for each other. Sebastian Stan is magnetic, spry and beguiling as the devil-may-care deejay and vagabond; and Denise Gough is the complete opposite as a plucky but more proper immigration lawyer who is in one of those rebound travel-the-world on a bender type situations. In chronicling this mismatched duo’s fall from an almost too metaphorical Garden of Eden (it’s a fig leaf-free beach in this case), the film plumbs the notion of how a relationship can survive on chemistry and chemicals alone and finds lots of erotic ways to determine if true love can really be skin deep. But the episodes of showing how different the wavelengths each is surfing can be painful and awkward, and the movie’s near-improvised vibe feels a touch incomplete. The filmmakers get points for examining the intoxication of obsessive love but rarely make space, momentum or structure to adequately fill in some of the emotional gaps which would elucidate why these giddy drifters choose to spend time together on any activity other than sex. Because it is set in the exotic milieu of a foreign land with characters somewhat in a toxic fog of trying to find each other, the story becomes more absorbing even as its trajectory appears clear to the audience. Fittingly, it’s all lovely to look at and drink in, but the hangover comprises most of this bittersweet story.

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