Review: The sex and debauchery of Fridays is fun, but ‘Monday’ reminds us of the reality
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A warning: The packed dance floors swirling in neon lights and/or sea breezes in Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ “Monday” may cause in the viewer an uncontrollable yearning to be in close proximity to many strange, sweaty bodies, fueled by disco beats and all manner of mysterious substances. This is the setting for the meet-cute of two American expats in Greece, Chloe (Denise Gough) and Mickey (Sebastian Stan), shoved together by their mutual friend Argyris (Giorgos Pyrpasopoulos). It goes so well that they wake up nude on a beach as families splash around them in the morning light.
“Monday” is a riff on Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” (and its sequels), and Andrew Haigh’s “Weekend,” films in which romance blossoms for a mere moment in time. Rather than temporally containing this relationship, Papadimitropoulos and co-writer Rob Hayes speculate on the inevitable reality check after a hedonistic long weekend and impulsive romantic decision. It’s not just the one Friday when they meet, but the rest of the Fridays they spend together: the Friday she moves into his Athens apartment, the Friday they attend a friend’s wedding, miserable and drunk, the Friday before his son comes to visit. With each Friday, more and more of who they are, and their lives before they collided on the dance floor, is revealed, for better or for worse, as they keep pushing that metaphorical Monday down the road.
There’s an intense physicality on screen in “Monday,” from the sunlit sway of Hristos Karamanis’ camera, to the athletic, fiery performances of Gough and Stan. In this relationship, these two are exposed emotionally, spiritually and physically, meeting every fight and frolic at full bore. During their first weekend, Mickey tells Chloe, “You don’t regret the things you do, you regret the things you don’t do.” There’s not much these two don’t do, but the regrets arrive, nevertheless, just like Monday always does.
This honest examination of a passionate, disastrous adult relationship might feel like a warning itself. Papadimitropoulos doesn’t offer easy answers, but what “Monday” brings is something tangibly real and profoundly human.
In English and Greek with English subtitles
Rated: R, for sexual content, nudity/graphic nudity, drug use, and pervasive language
Running time: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Playing: Starts April 16, Laemmle Royal, West L.A.; Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena; and in limited release where theaters are open; also on digital and VOD
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