Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to spend the summer in Greece? First, it was Meryl Streep and company singing and dancing ABBA songs on the Greek islands in the Mamma Mia! films, and now we have Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough partying and travelling the country in Monday.
On a hot summer’s Friday night in Athens, two Americans, Mickey (Sebastian Stan) and Chloe (Denise Gough), are introduced. Their chemistry is immediately palpable and tangible. Their first night is a drunken hook-up, and they end up naked on a beach in Greece. They are both there with no long-term plans. Chloe has been working as an immigration lawyer while Mickey DJ’s at the bars near the beach following a failed career as a musician in New York.
The charming chemistry that Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough share are the building blocks of this film. There is something organic and effortless about their interactions that elevates the movie quite a bit during the first act. A party to burn a couch that does not fit in the apartment, a late-night drive on a bike, or cutting pants to turn them into shorts, those moments seem natural and pleasing. Those scenes are the film’s saving grace; those are the scenes that give the film its appeal. When it comes to the sadder moments of their relationships, the film turns to tropes.
Monday gets into a territory that is as self-destructive as the characters’ relationship in the last act. It is filled with the cliche of a deteriorating relationship that weighs it down like an anchor, drowning the film with annoyance more than a pulping romance. The last act is where the film loses itself. The characters are written in a way that neglects every development they have gone through. Although it is pretty obvious where the film’s story is going, the ending is not even compelling. It is quite disappointing.
The last thirty minutes of Monday feel very out of place like they were part of another film made for a teenage audience, rather than from a dramatic romance film about a broken relationship. It is a shame because the start of the film was charm-filled and interesting and then ruined with such boring narrative decisions. The first act hooks you in, but one could only wish the other two acts were as vibrant and engaging as the film’s soundtrack.
Monday had the potential to be another good film about two strangers who fall in love at first sight in an exotic location, with two dedicated performances by Stan and Gough (and they do make the best of it). However, poor filmmaking decisions see it lose its chance.