TIFF ’20 — If There Is Anything To Learn From ‘Monday’, it is Don’t Make a Long-Term Relationship out of a One-Night Stand

A still from 'Monday'. Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough under water kissing. Gough straddles Stan as her arms are raised above her head.

Monday is an anti-romance that lacks any defining qualities that make for an entertaining movie or a poignant study on the sacrifices people make to simply be in a relationship.

Chloe (Denise Gough) and Mickey (Sebastian Stan) are Americans living in a picturesque Greece for reasons largely revolving around work. She is an immigration lawyer and he is a DJ. At a party, Chloe is having a verbal spat over the phone with an ex and Mickey is DJing at the party. His boisterous friend decides to grab the two of them and demand that they hook up because they are seemingly the only Americans at the party and they are of opposite sex, so of course they should have a sexy time. And, they do. Again, and again, and again. Until, he stops her from leaving the country to go back to the US, and they decide to live together.

What transpires in this meandering and directionless film is a series of glaring warning signs flashing before our eyes as we see these two people defy all logic and reason to stay together. Despite the actors being exceptionally attractive, neither seem suited for the other beyond their sexual attraction. He is a slacker in many regards, and she is actually looking for a stable relationship. I am not sure how stable a relationship based on a one-night stand usually is, but by what is given to us on screen it is clear that compromises are being made on her end.

A still from 'Monday'. Denise Gough and Sebastian Stan kissing at a party with confetti falling.

The film is nicely shot and filmed with no extravagant visual flare. Visually there is very little to complain about, in fact, it is perhaps the cinematography from Hristos Karamanis and Argyris Papadimitropoulo’s directing that pumps life into the feature and gives it a vivid and kinetic energy that propels the story forward.

Essentially, the film grapples with the Friday highs and the Monday lows of this relationship which is what the title of the film and the title cards throughout the film suggest. However, it would be far more intriguing if the basis of this relationship wasn’t simply founded on them being Americans and having good sex. There is no chemistry between the actors, nor is there any understanding of why these two characters even fancy each other to begin with. The characters have zero development or personality so there is nothing to hook the audience as they go about developing this relationship.

All one can ascertain from Monday is that maybe one-night stands should just be one and done.

Monday screened at the virtual edition of Toronto international Film Festival 2020. It has yet to find distribution.

by Ferdosa Abdi

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