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1/12/18

WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY - REVIEW


Released on Netflix in 2017, What Happened To Monday is a science fiction thriller starring Noomi Rapace as seven sisters named after each day of the week who try to survive in a dystopian one-child-only society.

In order to tackle an overpopulation problem and attempt to fix the environment, the Child Allocation Bureau, run by Glenn Close's intimidating politician, enforces this one-child policy which takes the oldest siblings, if there are any, and cryogenically freezes them until society can accommodate them. When a woman dies while giving birth to identical septuplets, her father (played by Willem Dafoe) decides to raise the kids in a way that allows all of them to live their lives. Each of them is allowed to leave the house on a specific day of the week, hence their names, if they pretend to all be the same individual. At home, they can look and act like who they are but outside, they become the same person. Of course, when one of them doesn't come home as planned, they start to suspect that their secret has been compromised and try to find Monday, wherever she might be. This is an interesting concept and the film does a great job at making it convincing, mostly thanks to Noomi Rapace's several very good performances that help sell these sisters' elaborate lifestyle.

The seven sisters each have very different personalities and varying opinions on what they should do to survive so the film gets to approach individualism from a few sides, thereby getting you to think about what you would do in such a situation. While the film's scale is limited by its relatively low budget, it still manages to include some exciting sequences as the sisters are tracked down by the Bureau one after the other. You can easily imagine a film with this kind of plot being too dull or too silly but What Happened To Monday keeps things not only grounded but entertaining enough that it stays afloat from start to finish. There are some clever twists and turns throughout and you do feel for these characters as they desperately try, but often fail, to stay alive when facing such a powerful enemy. Like all good sci-fi films set in the near future, it doesn't go overboard with its technology and gets its point across clearly, without having to resort to too much spectacle or gimmicks: this is more akin to something like Strange Days than flashier science fiction actioners.

What Happened To Monday achieves what quite a few Netflix releases couldn't, namely introducing an clever, interesting concept then actually live up to it. Noomi Rapace's great performance(s) alone is worth it but the film itself is a solid piece of dystopian sci-fi and it deserves some attention.

Surprisingly good.

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