I have a hard time remembering when my feelings for a film fluctuated as much as they did while watching Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ “Monday,” a love story, sex romp, domestic drama hybrid that — big surprise — can’t decide what it wants to be.
Meandering during its first act, engrossing during its second and a little bit of both during the third, the movie inadvertently succeeds in getting us to walk a mile in the shoes of its characters. Just when you think you have an opinion or feeling about it, something is revealed that causes you to change your mind. The one constant is the chemistry between the two leads, the only thing that keeps you hanging on until the end.
Charming DJ Mickey (Sebastian Stan), an American ex-pat in Greece, meetsimmigration lawyer Chloe (Denise Gough), a fellow ex-pat, when she’s at her lowest.
Dumped by her high-powered boyfriend, she meets her future lover at his place of work, and literally 10 seconds after they meet, they’re in a lip-lock for the ages.
They wake up the next morning naked on a beach, get around to introducing themselves in the back of a police car and are set to go their separate ways ... that is, until she realizes she does not have her keys, which prompts our hero to go all knight in shining armor, taking her to his place.
Well, things are never the same afterward, and neither is the furniture and various other nooks and crannies.
They proceed to make love anywhere and everywhere over the course of the lust-fueled weekend, allowing their passion to trump their better judgment. This is all quite monotonous and would be comical if it weren’t so desperate and unimaginative.
However, when the initial charm between them wears off, the film gets interesting. They eventually realize they have to actually talk and interact, learning things about each other that can’t be solved with a quick roll in the hay. Chloe comes to find that Mickey is nothing but an overgrown child, a man who’s learned to get by on his charm, never worrying about tomorrow or the ramifications of his actions. That he has a son is a bit of a surprise. That he’s being denied custody of him is not.
Meanwhile, Mickey is put off by Chole’s low sense of self-esteem, a quality that, while it makes her vulnerable to his manipulations, becomes something he abhors.
There’s an energy to the scenes dealing with the various domestic conflicts that arise, the film suddenly becoming relatable and engaging.
Stan and Gough both give passionate performances, which goes a long way to making the film nearly bearable. They each embrace their characters’ good points as well as bad, making them familiar and relatable in ways that forcefully strike home. At various points, we are charmed by each of them, while at others we’re repelled.
It’s obvious that Papadimitropoulos could care less whether we like them or not, giving us a dose of realism that holds the film in good stead.
Too bad the director resorts to nonsensical melodrama in the third act and leaves the viewer with an ending that’s one of the most disappointing in recent memory. What transpires during the last 20 minutes goes against all we’ve seen from Chloe, making little sense. It’s obvious that what she does is due to narrative expediency, not logic.
And as for the final scene — well, we’re supposed to be stunned by what it implies, but it’s just a cop out, as it becomes obvious Papadimitropoulos has painted himself in a corner and can’t get out.
“Monday,” “Monday,” can’t trust that day ...