Netflix recently released the Sci-Fi film What Happened to Monday and it was about as good as I expected it to be. While not a masterpiece, the film was entertaining and about an interesting topic. The film centers around a futuristic world in the year 2073 wherein population control has been put into place. Families are only allowed to have one child, with additional children being put into cryo sleep and to be awoken in the future when the world has worked out its resources to allow for a larger population. The government has set up regular check points to ensure that no one is a sibling and in violation of the law.
When septuplets are born and the mother dies in the process of childbirth, the grandfather, Terrance Settman (William Dafoe) puts a highly secretive plan into motion in order to allow the girls to all grow up together. He takes all seven children home and raises them on his own. He names each child for a day of the week and each can only go outside on their specific day of the week. In order to keep the ruse real, each Settman sister assumes the identity of Karen Settman and reports back to all sisters at the end of each day so that they can all be aware of what is happening in their outside life. The movie mostly takes place when the girls are 30 years old with the story of their grandfather and upbringing being told in flashbacks.
When Monday doesn’t return at the end of the day, the remaining six sisters become worried and spend the remainder of the movie trying to uncover what happened to Monday and being hunted down by the government which they realize has uncovered their 30 year-long secret.
Story wise, it is a solid script and interesting. The third act went a different direction than I expected but I expected them to team up with a rebellion which likely would have meant multiple films rather than a stand alone story. The resolution and climax are well thought out and understandable and I found myself overall satisfied with how the outcome for the fictional world.
Noomie Rapace is excellent in the roles of the Settman sisters. As an actress, she must have had a great time with this role as she had the privilege to play a total of either roles, one for each sister and then one for their alter ego Karen. Rapace was impressive in this regard. Make up and costumes helped quite a bit as well but Rapace did a convincing job of making me believe that each sister had a unique personality and persona. In fact, this is one complaint I have about the writing. Seven sisters all growing up together would not all have been so widely different in personality. Some of them would have been quite similar to each other.
The supporting cast was rather small considering most of the cast was the seven sisters and this is where the film falters a bit. The sisters and a certain police officer are developed pretty well but all of the villains are underdeveloped, even Glenn Close’s character. One villain in particular, Joe (Christian Rubeck), a name I only know now because I looked it up, chases the sisters the entire film. His character is not developed at all. You never know if he actually cares about the law or is just a lackey for Glenn Close’s character, Nicolette Cayman. Further, Cayman is never understood. She has political aspirations and truly believes in the population control but she just comes off as cold and uninteresting.
At the time of my initial viewing I thought the film deserved a 3 out of 5 at best. Since watching it though, it has been on my mind and in a good way. To me, this is indicative of a well done film. The Netflix original is not without its problems such as poor character development outside of the Settman sisters but it was a well done Netflix film. An engaging story, outstanding acting from the lead, and satisfying conclusion, What Happened to Monday is an entertaining ride that I encourage Netflix viewers to give a chance.
4 out of 5 cushions on the couch!!!