So, I’m watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and asking myself, “who is this Sebastian Stan person?” Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ feature film, Monday, gives a pretty good answer to that question.
Stan stars as American expatriate Mickey, who now lives in Greece. On a particular Friday night, he reluctantly goes to a nightclub with his best friend and meets fellow expat Chloe (Denise Gough). An instant connection is made, and the two find themselves the following day in police custody for having sex on the beach… and I am not referring to the drink.
Mickey and Chloe move in together, navigating the complexities of combining two separate apartments into one., and now we’ve reached the twenty-minute mark. Monday follows two paths in the life of the couple. First is a glimpse at the lives of American expatriates living in a foreign country. It’s not all about partying and having lots of sex. They have respective jobs. Mickey is a freelance musician, and Chloe is a highly sought-after consultant. Chloe was about to move back to the U.S. before meeting Mickey, highlighting the familial toll living abroad can put on a person.
The movie is also a romance that takes a tough and authentic look at the idea of “love at first sight.” The foibles of instantly shacking up with someone and entering a serious relationship… commitment without ever getting to know that other person better. This is where we as an audience start getting ahead of the plot. Instantly, we see that this relationship can’t work (or can it?), and the cracks begin to form.
“…a tough and authentic look at the idea of ‘love at first sight.'”
Mickey and Chloe are opposites in many ways. Mickey is a manchild; Chloe is an adult. Mickey is relaxed and casual at work, while Chloe is straight-laced and professional. During a hilarious party sequence, their friends and social circle get along like oil and water.
Let me elaborate on this idea of predictability. From the get-go, you know this relationship is headed for trouble. I suppose we know this will happen because we either know someone who is or has been in similar relationships. This tends to put us a few steps ahead of the story and anxiously awaiting the dread and doom coming down the road. That said, the story of two strangers discovering their partner’s true nature plays out in realistic ways, and there’s rarely a false note being played.
Monday succeeds in large part to Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough’s performances. I knew almost nothing about Stan before Captain America: The First Avengers, and quite frankly, Winter Soldier is hardly a dynamic character. He just comes to life here in a way that makes him endearing and pitiable. Gough is an excellent counterpart to Stan. She plays her character as strong and confident but prone to giving into passion over following her instincts. In the end, Chloe is forced to wrestle with her commitment to this hastily formed relationship.
Monday is a drama that says more about us as people looking for love than it does about having some profound, mind-blowing statement to say. Writers Rob Hayes and Argyris Papadimitropoulos tell an engaging story, and quite frankly, that’s enough, especially when you have great leads to tell your story.
"…succeeds in large part to Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough's performances."