“Monday” is a “lost weekend” romance, something so obvious a one of the main characters uses the phrase at his most blitzed.
It’s a love affair that walks on eggshells for the better part of two hours, two people with hints of co-dependency who have no business being together, sticking it out for that weekend — and many to follow — just trying to make it to “Monday.” And even though it overstays its welcome and its characters achieve a degree of “grating” that you wouldn’t think Denise Gough and Sebastian Stan could manage, it makes for a compelling portrait of denial, because that’s one big thing these two have in common.
Chloe and Mickey are a couple of ex-pats living in Greece. He’s a sometime musician and popular DJ living like he knows this line of work and lifestyle has an expiration date. When we meet her, she’s leaving drunken messages for an ex who dumped her.
It’s boozy love at first sight. Or lust. That’s how they end up naked on the beach and arrested. It’s “Friday” a title tells us. They’re kind of thrown together for the weekend by the fact that she misplaced her purse. There’s a “big gesture” and a brittle connection — with the odd testy moment — is made.
It’s just that Chloe, an immigration lawyer helping immigrants who want to come to the States, is finally done with the place and is flying home Monday.
Mickey’s “You’re always gonna regret not doing something rather than doing something” doesn’t move her. His last ditch effort to interrupt her passage through the terminal does.
“Monday” tracks their love affair — impulsive sex, co-habitation, an impromptu street rave to celebrate her furniture, which won’t fit into his apartment, through their first “his friends and YOUR friends” party, humiliations and slights — and deep into the messy intimacy that comes from people with baggage and “issues” coupling up.
Stan, of the “Captain America” movies and TV shows, hits on a sort of blitzed, uninhibited Jason Bateman vibe and makes it work for him here. He lets us see that Mickey’s old enough to know better, and that he can’t help himself.
Gough (“The Kid Who Would Be King,” “The Good Traitor”) has the tougher performance as the viewer’s surrogate. Chloe sees the signs and hears the warnings about “Mickey Go Lucky” and what a “baby” this “irresponsible,” self-destructive guy she’s hitched her future to, and Gough lets us watch the doubts creep across her face and body language even as Chloe’s scrambling to tamp those doubts down.
It all gets to be too much, what with the full frontal at the drop of a hat, and “four, no SIX shots of tequila” and “Get us drugs” and complications from each character’s history. No scene seems superfluous even if many go on too long. “A bit of a wallow” may cross your mind, as it did mine.
But director and co-writer Argyris Papadimitropoulus (“Suntan”) doesn’t let his baby drown in the bathwater, even if he never figures out he could have turned off the tap twenty minutes before the closing credits and delivered the same message in a tighter film.
MPA Rating: R (Sexual Content|Drug Use|Pervasive Language|Nudity/Graphic Nudity)
Cast: Sebastian Stan, Denise Gough, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Dominique Tipper, Eilli Tringou and Andreas Konstantinou.
Credits: Directed by Argyris Papadimitropoulos, script by Rob Hayes, Argyris Papadimitropoulos. An IFC release.
Running time: 1:57