Sebastian Stan headlines a rocky romance abroad in intoxicated indie Monday: Review
Like its namesake, Monday sets out with all the promise of new beginnings: Two American expats in Athens tumble boozily into bed (or more accurately, beach sand) and then love. It's an unlikely pairing from the start — he's a DJ, she's an immigration lawyer — but chemistry and chemicals seem like enough in filmmaker Argyris Papadimitropoulos' cracked indie romance, until they aren't.
Chloe (Irish actress Denise Gough) is actually getting ready to leave Greece for good when she literally stumbles into Mickey (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's Sebastian Stan) at her last hurrah, a raucous house party he happens to be playing. They're making out within moments of meeting, and picked up by the local cops the next morning for indecent exposure before they've even been properly introduced.
Thanks to a misplaced set of house keys, a night of half-remembered sex becomes a sweeter kind of lost weekend; Chloe skips out on her flight home and within days they're cohabitating, borne aloft on a wave of honeymoon-phase lust and tequila shots. But while they seem happy enough to live like kids on a spring-break bender, the pair are both somewhere north of their mid-30s, and each has a history: past traumas, bad breakups, even a custody battle.
Writer-director Papadimitropoulos (Suntan) has a particular feel for sun-baked hedonism and atmosphere, and Gough and Stan are extremely game (and for much of it, extremely nude). But the movie (in select theaters and streaming Friday), sometimes haltingly episodic, also asks us to take on faith that physical attraction is enough without ever really rooting them in any deeper connection — or delving much into exactly why each seems so bent on mutually assured destruction in the first place.
Monday's title also refers to a certain kind of post-TGIF reckoning, and eventually Mickey — easily the sunnier of the two, and the less outwardly troubled — begins to tire of their 80-proof Bonnie-and-Clyde routine, his Peter Pan charm and insistent optimism no match for the darker impulses in Chloe. By that point, alas, the story has already slid into a sort of a sexified Mediterranean Groundhog Day: amour fou on rinse and repeat. Grade: B