Note: This review contains minor spoilers for the movie, but it is mostly an overview of the plot along with my reactions!
Monday is a new romance film starring Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough, who play Mickey and Chloe: two Americans living in Greece who meet at a party...and the rest is history. In all seriousness, though, this film is a beautiful representation of love and relationships. The ups and downs that the two characters experience are realistic and authentic, and although they have a romantic experience, it is not falsely romanticized. At the beginning, Mickey and Chloe overlook their differences to hook up on the beach any chance they get. The first hour of the movie felt very fun and fast-paced, especially with the excitement of watching them get to know each other so quickly. The vibe of the movie feels like the embodiment of golden hour—it’s beautiful and warm and seemingly perfect, but it’s all fleeting. The party scenes felt electric, especially during a time when I can barely imagine being surrounded by so many people. Like, I wish I was dancing in a crowd with Sebastian Stan on the beach, but for now I’ll just enjoy watching him act as a charming DJ.
It soon becomes clear that Mickey and Chloe will in fact have to deal with their conflicts if they are going to stay together. Even as a viewer, I kind of forgot reality for a second and I thought their summer romance alone would be enough. One scene that stood out to me is when Chloe first seems to realize that their relationship is not guaranteed by anything. When Mickey’s friend and ex bandmate Bastian (Dominique Tipper) is visiting, she expresses her annoyance with him for leaving their tour out of nowhere. She tells Mickey that he kept every bad review of their music because “You are not happy unless you’re failing.” I felt the weight of Chloe’s emotions through the screen at that moment, because it seems that she barely considered how she doesn’t know her boyfriend deeply enough. Her glorified perception of him is not necessarily who he is now that the veil of their budding romance is finally stripped away from her. We further see Mickey’s internal conflicts when Chloe asks him about if he truly finds comfort in failure. Although he comes off as a fun and carefree person, he is deeply insecure and feels like he does not deserve a happy ending, which is something that him and Chloe deal with throughout the film.
It is interesting to me how both of their personalities change after they are together for a few months. At first, Chloe seems to be way more sensible than Mickey, and she is slightly guarded until she is inevitably blinded by love. Mickey is immature and sometimes too careless, which I think is a way for him to cope with his fear of facing serious things in life, like his own insecurity and self-deprecation. The scene when he is cooking in scuba gear and underwear is a funny representation of that; he still seems like a kid at heart but this could balance out Chloe’s seriousness (sometimes). There were times when I found the storyline frustrating, because the problems in their relationship seem so avoidable if they were to sit down and have a real conversation, but this is all part of the reality that the movie is trying to convey. Stan and Gough’s acting is incredible and emotional. Evidently, director Argyris Papadimitropoulos did a wonderful job with developing this truthfulness, and it is refreshing compared to classic sugar-coated romance dramas.
Something that a lot of people are talking about online right now is the end of the movie, when Chloe and Mickey are riding a moped while naked. In one interview, Denise Gough said that filming the scene was nerve-wracking at first, but she soon felt comfortable and as if it was “empowering” and a “reclamation”. I think this is so important to recognize, because I have personally seen many people sexualizing this part of the movie. People have been body shaming Sebastian Stan and watching the movie just to see him fully naked for a few seconds, which I think is disgusting. He has also been open about his struggles with body dysmorphia and insecurities, which makes it even worse for his "fans" to say negative things about how he looks. Both actors are so excited and proud of their work on this film, and reducing it to nudity is objectifying and also takes away from the art of it. I’ll say it louder for the people in the back: People sexualize and objectify male actors and celebrities just the same as women, and it is equally as wrong and disrespectful. Stan expressed that he didn’t care about being naked in the movie, and that “Sometimes you hear about movies having sex scenes or nudity or whatever and maybe that’s all people talk about. And for some reason if anybody does highlight only this once this movie comes out then that’s a shame because that’s just clickbait, which is what everybody is too lazy to admit they like to rely on nowadays.” There is clearly more to the story than just sex scenes, and the relationship they are portraying is figuratively “naked” as well, which is part of this deeper meaning. I hope more people realize this and watch the movie seriously and respectfully.
If you like the idea of love at first sight, then this movie is for you. Or, if you don’t believe in love at first sight, you will also reach a reality check in the end. Although the movie sort of ends with questioning, since we do not know what Mickey and Chloe’s more “stable” relationship will be like after the chaotic events that have unfolded, we have seen enough to understand that love is not at all perfect. In my opinion, it is rare for this vulnerability to be shown on the big screen, and I simply love how raw and truthful this movie is.
Watch the trailer for Monday here. The movie is available on demand and in select theatres now!