Those hoping to see conflicted Marvel super-soldier Sebastian Stan live a little might want to check out Monday, a hedonistic “romance” from veteran Greek filmmaker Argyris Papadimitropoulos. Stan, who plays an American DJ spinning the turntables to fuel his nightlife, matches up beautifully with co-star Denise Gough, and the two embark on a love story that’s about what happens when those initial red-hot passions cool into domesticity and people start learning about one another.
What I particularly like about Monday, and I think some have recoiled from, is how unflinching it is about the nature of the sort of codependent, all-or-nothing, hot-to-the-touch relationship that Mickey (Stan) and Chloe (Gough) have right from the outset. She’s an immigration lawyer fresh out of a bad breakup and looking for a rebound. Within moments of meeting these two are boning all across Greece. They do it everywhere, waking up the next day buck naked on the beach. But this is no mere one night stand. Chloe, who seems to be realistic about what that night was, makes excuses to leave. But Mickey, perhaps unconsciously, doesn’t want to let go of this woman who is a little bit out of his league on the maturity scale. Improbably, they stay together for weeks, continuing their very-public, drug and passion-fueled sexscapades. Ultimately, they decide to move in together into his flat, turning his bachelor pad into a home for two.
There’s honesty not just in Chloe and Mickey’s more carnal pursuits, but in the challenges of trying to build a life with someone that you barely know. We learn that Mickey has a child from a previous relationship, and the mother is NOT a fan of his or his fitness to be a parent. We’re left to consider whether part of Mickey’s reason for staying with Chloe is how she makes him look to the outside world. If this responsible attorney wants to be with me, how could I not be fit to be a father?
Subtle, even completely unaware, manipulations like that are a part of many relationships, especially one like this where each person seems to be using the other to fill a part of themselves that is missing. This is, as is often the case, a double-edged sword, especially when you throw adult responsibilities into the mix. Mickey isn’t a child but he has immature tendencies that Chloe balances out, except when she’s going through a self-destructive phase in which everything tends to go to shit. One such collision finds the two high on drugs, racing through the city streets nude on their motorcycle. It ends not only with an arrest, but a wake-up call as to how toxic they can be together sometimes. Another insightful scene finds Mickey’s rowdy friends clashing with Chloe’s more-refined associates, and the tension it can cause to a relationship when friend groups don’t mesh. The film is broken up over the course of months, with weekends highlighted by their various encounters, adventures, and arguments that often times threaten both their employment and ability to stay in the country.
Papadimitropoulos has no interest in painting stock portrayals of Americans on an international fling. Both Chloe and Mickey are complicated, flawed, and we get both of their perspectives on this roller coaster romance. It’s good to see a film where neither partner is depicted as crazy, or racked with personal demons. They’re just trying to figure it all out. That could cause some to see Monday as a bit meandering, or even dull, especially when Mickey goes through a bit of a sullen “woe is me” phase, but Papadimtropoulos is sure to sprinkle in plenty of humor, as well. I think it’s also important to note just how Greek the movie is. Most of the supporting cast is from Greece and culturally it just feels different than what a Hollywood film of a similar nature would be like. There’s an intriguing, dark ambiguity to Monday that leaves you wondering whether this love story can stand the test of time, or if maybe one night stands should just be one night stands.