What Happened to Monday is Netflix’s latest original movie, delivering exciting action and an incredible cast.
Netflix is stepping up its game with original movies. This summer alone, they have released an incredible batch of movies including To the Bone, The Incredible Jessica James, and Okja. What Happened to Monday is their latest original film.
The action in What Happened to Monday is fast-paced and cinematic. It is exciting to watch, if not somewhat predictable in nature. An incredible cast, led by the brilliant Noomi Rapace, brings some heart and depth to the action. The balance of the two make the film easy to enjoy.
What Happened to Monday takes place in a future where siblings are illegal. Due to overpopulation, families are only permitted one child. This law is complicated by the fact that multiple births are increasingly common. With the birth of twins, triplets, and even septuplets, parents are forced to turn over their children to the Child Allocation Bureau.
For the Settman family, this isn’t an option. When his daughter dies in childbirth, Terrence Settman (Willem Dafoe) raises her seven children in secret. The girls — named after the days of the week — assume the shared identity of Karen Settman (Noomi Rapace). They are allowed outside only on the day they are named after.
The movie’s action ramps up when one of the sisters, Monday, goes missing. The sisters must work together to find out what happened to Monday, try to get her back, and attempt to keep their secret family hidden from the Bureau.
Noomi Rapace carries the weight of this world on her shoulders, as she plays seven very different characters. The Settman sisters — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — each have their own strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
Rapace transforms herself into a different person with each performance, a triumph made even more impressive in the scenes where she acts only against herself. Every character is believable. The emotions Rapace brings to the film give the thriller meaningful stakes.
These sisters depend on each other, not only for the creation of Karen Settman, but for the creation of themselves. They depend on each other for survival, especially as the events of the movie unfold. Their strengths buoy up each other’s weaknesses and their shared secrets keep them alive.
Rapace is the greatest strength of this movie. She breathes life into the Settman sisters and constructs Karen into someone who is at once believably singular and seven.
The Supporting Cast
What Happened to Monday has two strong supporting cast members as well. Glenn Close plays the villain you love to hate, Nicolette Cayman, director of the Child Allocation Bureau. Willem Dafoe plays the sister’s grandfather, Terrence Settman. Both characters make difficult decisions for their worlds, doing bad things for good reasons.
Nicolette Cayman is the one tearing siblings away from their families, but also the one saving the planet from overpopulation. Close walks this line of ambiguity without ever making Cayman too sympathetic. Viewers are allowed to see Cayman’s inner struggle through Close’s careful portrayal.
Willem Dafoe brings a surprising vulnerability to Terrence Settman. Dafoe toes the same line Close does in his portrayal, but ultimately ends up on the other side. His character becomes sympathetic, in one scene crying after making a difficult decision to ensure Karen’s identity remains intact.
Close and Dafoe each only portray one character, but what they bring supports Noomi Rapace’s seven characters well. They let her shine, but don’t let her overshadow their stories.
So, what happened to Monday?
What happened to Monday? It’s a question the film answers. Thanks to a stellar cast and a few unexpected puzzle pieces, the answer is emotionally satisfying in a way I didn’t expect. The journey, though, is just as interesting as the answer.
In the end, the movie brings an action thriller closer to home, making it one about family. While the chase scenes, shootouts, and fist fights are fun to watch, it is the family dynamic between the seven sisters that is the most difficult to turn away from.
‘What Happened to Monday’ premieres on Netflix August 18
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