What Happened to Monday (2017)
Overpopulation is quite possibly one of the most complicated and frightening topics of our day. What could be worse than living with the thought of our world being filled with so many human beings that essential means of survival like food, water and other natural resources become so scarce that eventually we will be left with nothing. That scary thought and potential reality is explored in the 2017 sci-fi film What happened to Monday starring Noomi Repace, Glenn Close and Willem Dafoe.
Set in an unspecified amount of time in the future, overpopulation has become a major problem in the world along with a large amount of children being born with birth defects. Due to all of this, families are restricted to one child per household. Any additional sibling found is hauled away and sent to a Cryobank facility where the extra sibling is frozen until the Earth can sustain additional children. This proves to be a complication for Terrence Settman, played by Willem Dafoe, who finds himself with female septuplets; a product of his daughter whom, unfortunately, did not survive the birthing process. He ends up naming each girl after a day of the week and teaches them about the one-sibling society. He then trains them to be one person; Karen Settman. Since each girl is named after a day of the week, each one is allowed to go out on the day they?re named after. 30 years later, we see this training take effect. Karen Settman, who is really 7 different people, is a successful associate at a financial firm whom is honing in on a big promotion. The day the girls are set to hear about their promotion, Monday goes missing. She doesn?t come home that night and the others say she never misses their ?nightly meetings? to discuss what happened during their day in order to keep the appearance that they?re all one person.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday listen to Monday?s breakdown of the day. (Noomi Repace)
The next day the sibling Tuesday is sent forth to investigate what happened to their sister and, while out, we get a few clues that point to Monday?s disappearance. First, when she goes through the security checkpoint, one of the guards flirts with her a bit by saying he hates working Tuesdays but it?s worth it because he gets to see her. When Tuesday gets to the company she works for, a rival coworker of hers delivers some ominous dialogue about her cheating her way to that promotion and that he ?knows her secret?. Tuesday thinks he knows about all the siblings but it?s really something else; we?ll get to that a bit later in this review. When Tuesday gets to her office she finds out from her secretary that she, Monday in reality, went to her favorite bar after work the night before to celebrate her promotion. Tuesday then goes to the bar and talks to the bartender who tells her that she left early that night because the creepy and dickish coworker was harassing her. As Tuesday is leaving the bar and reporting everything she learned to her other sisters at home, she is intercepted on the street and forced into a black van. As soon as she?s in, her GPS tracker, which they all wear, goes offline. Tuesday is taken to a government building and thrown into a room where the presidential candidate, Nicolette Caymen, played by Glenn Close, informs her that she knows she?s a sibling and says they will kill all of her sisters. Tuesday begs for her life and says she works at a bank and she could get her money. Caymen then replies ?Funny, that?s what the last one said,? hinting to her that she killed Monday. The scene then ends with an agent slowly walking toward Tuesday with a giant knife. That night, the other sisters are freaking out and really considering that both Monday and Tuesday are dead. The next day, the girls get a little smarter and send Wednesday out to investigate further.
Tuesday talks to the bartender to inquire about what happened while she was there on Monday.
Friday, the techy-savy sister, fits Wednesday with a class-A tracker that will always show where she is and she will be able to transmit two way communication. Wednesday goes to the creepy co-worker?s apartment to see what it is that he knows. When she arrives, they talk and he informs her that if she doesn?t surrender her promotion to him, he?ll go public with a very scandalous account she procured with presidential candidate Caymen. Obviously confused, Wednesday asks him what he means and then things get violent. Wednesday pulls a gun on him and demands for him to prove that he knows what she supposedly did. He informs her that all of what he knows is on a tablet in the kitchen. When she starts to go for it, the co-worker is shot. Multiple gunshots fly through the apartment and Wednesday quickly grabs the tablet and takes off. Caymen?s goons continue to hunt Wednesday as she runs through the city and sends what?s on the tablet back to Friday. At the same time, more of the goons bust into the sister?s apartment and begin to attack them. They all fight as hard as they can while Wednesday is chased through the city and tries to make it back. Unfortunately, the apartment fight ends in Sunday?s death and Wednesday ends up being shot when she tries to jump from one building to another. In a state of shock over losing their sisters, Friday, Thursday and Saturday then try to figure out what they should do next.
The sisters agonize over Sunday?s death.
Friday tries to go through the information that Wednesday sent over but it?s encrypted. During this time, the guard that likes Monday, Adrian, arrives at their apartment and the sisters task Saturday to deal with him. She then asks if they could go over to his place. Adrian agrees and Thursday and Friday stay at the apartment to figure out what this whole conspiracy leads to. Before they send Saturday off with the guard they fit her with a bracelet device that can hack into the guard?s government profile and access the encrypted documents they are trying to view. At Adrian?s apartment, he and Saturday start to get down and dirty and, while he?s busy engaging her nether regions, she successfully pairs her bracelet with Adrian?s and Friday finds that she?s able to access the government?s network through it. Adrian and Saturday continue to get down to it while Thursday and Friday find out that the digital documents Wednesday sent were paperwork for a funds transfer between the bank Monday worked for and Caymen. They find that Caymen signed the transfer but Monday didn?t. The plot thickens as Friday hacks into the government?s surveillance system and they see whom they believe to be Monday locked in a white room with a bloody face. The next day, Saturday has yet to return to the apartment and we find that she ended up spending the night with Adrian. He wakes up to get ready for work and Saturday asks him why he works for their shitty government. He responds with a very generic answer, gaslights her and leaves. Once he?s gone, she hops on his computer to touch base with Thursday and Friday. They tell her Monday was up to some shady stuff and she may actually be alive based on what they saw in the security feed. As they talk, the government agents hunting them walk in and shoot Saturday during their web chat. After seeing their sister executed right in front of them, a smoke grenade bursts through their window. Government agents have surrounded their apartment so Thursday finds them a quick way to escape.
Saturday is executed by Cayman?s agents.
Before escaping, Friday collects all of their family photos and zips them up in a transferable file. After Thursday promptly tells her that they must go before the agents make their way up to the apartment, Friday says that those photos she?s transferring is everything and they are the only proof they have that their family ever existed. Thursday then leads Friday out of their apartment through a vacant one and down a fire escape. Thursday makes it down but, in either an attempt to give her sister a better fighting chance or just blind bravery, Friday pulls up the latter and goes back into their apartment. Friday then grabs a handful of hairspray and puts it in the microwave and sets it for one minute. She then unplugs the gas hose of the oven and goes back to her computer to commence the transfer of the photos she has zipped up. Thursday tries to get back in the building to get her out but she is not able to. She then calls Friday and she informs Thursday that she synced everything from their family photos to the evidence they have on Cayman to her bracelet. Friday then says she needed their family to survive and she would never make it out in the world. Just then, the agents are about to bust into the apartment and the microwave timer goes off. The nuked spray cans set off a reaction that ignites the gas and the whole place goes up in flames. Devastated, Thursday curls up into a ball on the ground and weeps.
Wednesday runs for her life.
Adrian, presumably getting off of his shift at work, hears the call of an explosion at Karen?s apartment and rushes over. As he arrives, the agents are moving Friday?s body into a vehicle and Adrian is distraught because he thinks that is Karen in the body bag. When Adrian returns to his vehicle, Thursday is there waiting for him. She holds a gun to his head and accuses him of selling them out. Adrian then reveals that he truly did not know Monday was a sibling and thought that she was at his apartment. Thursday believes him and enlists his help to get whom she believes to be Monday out of Cayman?s clutches and take the woman down based on the evidence they have on her. Adrian agrees and sneaks Thursday into the Child Allocation Bureau building in a body bag in order to pass her off as Friday. They make it in the building and Thursday is taken in for body disposal but is put in the processing room. Throughout the film we?ve been told that siblings are put into Cryosleep and will be unfrozen when the world can support a larger population again. But, while Thursday views the processing from her body bag, we see what is actually being done. A little girl in pajamas is injected with something by the engineers and they put her in what looks like a cryo chamber. The little girl then falls asleep and the chamber closes. At first it looks like she is being frozen but then flames engulf the girl and we see that it is actually an incinerator. Thursday is able to capture all of this from the camera on her bracelet.
Little girl is burned in the fake Cryo-Chamber.
When the engineers open her body bag, one of them asks ?wasn?t there a fire? and Thursday pushes the woman into the incinerator and fights the other engineer while Adrian fends off the guards outside. They then head to where they believe Monday is being held and find out that it?s actually Tuesday. Instead of murdering her, it looks like they just cut out one of her eyeballs. The agents catch on and try to track them down in the building as we see Monday walking into what looks like Cayman?s home office. During the course of their conversation we learn that Monday has made a deal with Cayman to spare herself so she can be the only Karen Settman as well as fund Cayman?s campaign with money she?s funneling from the bank she works for. Monday is about to sign their agreement but hesitates. Seeing this, Cayman lets her know that she is keeping one of her siblings as ?collateral?. This sibling is, as we?ve seen in the previous scene, Tuesday. Monday then signs and the deal is made.
Monday and Cayman finalize their deal.
Thursday, after prompting Tuesday to take her wig off and give it her, attempts to impersonate Monday as ?Karen? during Cayman?s campaign rally while Adrian and Tuesday take the video that Thursday took in the processing room and hack into Cayman?s live feed in order to expose her to the world. Thursday makes it to the ballroom just as Cayman is walking in and greeting her constituents. To avoid her, Thursday heads to the bathroom while Adrian and Tuesday fake out some guards and break into the building?s server room.
While in the bathroom, Thursday is cornered by Monday and they have a chat followed by an intense showdown. Basically, Monday wants to be the only Karen Settman because even though she and the others had to sacrifice a lot, Thursday never did. Monday?s whole monologue dips into a flashback that is referenced earlier in the film where, as children, Thursday sneaks out of the house one night to go skateboarding and gets in an accident where she ends up losing the tip of her right index finger. Because they had to keep up the facade of all 7 girls being the same person, Terrance had to amputate each of the girl?s fingers so they all matched. Later that night, Monday walks in on him crying and says that he is only trying to protect them. Thursday?s selfish display as a child, along with Monday admitting that she fell in love with Adrian and ended up making a deal with Cayman seems to be the reason she decided to throw her family under the bus. Monday then pulls a gun on Thursday and they have a fight. While Monday and Thursday are fighting, Adrian and Tuesday are fending off Cayman?s agents in the server room where Tuesday is trying to upload the video Thursday captured. These two action scenes are juxtaposed with Cayman giving her campaign speech, specifically her plan for the Child Allocation Act.
Thursday walks into bathroom before she is approached by Monday.
The speech Cayman gives here is doused in a bit of harsh truth that reflects our reality today; she talks about how children are born into homes where the parents cannot afford to feed and take care of them. Cayman continues to say that childcare is depleting and will eventually end up subjecting children into a life of poverty, neglect and crime. Given this, Cayman proposes that those who wish to procreate must pass a physical and mental examination to determine whether or not they would be fit to take care of a child. During this speech we see who could possibly be Monday walking into the ballroom and give Cayman a reassuring nod. The whole room seems to be buying Cayman?s proposition until the video of the little girl being incinerated plays on the giant screen behind her. Tuesday was able to upload the video as Adrian finished off the rest of the agents.
Cayman?s (Glenn Close) speech is interrupted by the video uploaded by Tuesday.
As you would expect, Cayman immediately tries to cover her ass by saying it was the only way. We then see who we think is Monday give a Cayman a devilish grin. Seeing this, Cayman passes out and, when she comes to, exposes who she believes is Monday as Thursday. Backtracking slightly, Thursday ends up getting the upper hand on Monday and shoots her at the climax of their Bathroom brawl. Cayman becomes enraged and tries to choke Thursday but is then held back by her guards. Monday, having survived the gunshot wound in the bathroom, comes stumbling into the ballroom with a gun and tries to shoot Thursday. Cayman?s head agent arrives at this exact moment and shoots Monday before she is able to shoot Thursday. Adrian then immediately takes out the agent. With all of this shooting going on the crowd quickly disperses and Thursday goes over to Monday?s body. As she lays dying, Monday weakly squeaks ?Don?t let them take them? and slowly guides Thursday?s hand to her stomach. It turns out Monday was pregnant with twins and she ended up making a deal with Cayman to let her keep both twins and her life as long as she throws all of her siblings under the bus as well as fund Cayman?s campaign. Adrian and Tuesday go over to Monday as she draws her last breath.
Monday lies dying.
This scene then cuts to black and a news cast comes on with an anchor reporting that the Child Allocation Act has been repealed, thousands of siblings have been released, pregnant women are coming out of hiding and Cayman will stand trial for her crimes and face the death penalty. During her ?perp-walk/press conference? Cayman grandstands and gives a pretty haunting speech about her being the person who ?had to make the hard decisions? to save their world. After this we cut to Tuesday, Thursday and Adrian standing in front of a giant tank preserving the life of Monday?s twins. Tuesday has a new robotic eye and tells Adrian her name is now Terry, Thursday says she is the one and only Karen Settman now and they simultaneously agree that all Monday wanted was for them to be safe and now they are. The film then ends on a long zoom out a futuristic nursery with what looks like hundreds of newborns with Monday?s twins at the center. The shrinking cries of the newborns ramp up as the camera continues to zoom out and then fades to black.
Monday?s twins and a hospital full of infants are cared for by nurses.
What Happened to Monday is a challenging film to review. Not because of the multiple plot twists and conspiracies that you must string together, but because of the very relevant themes and issues it presents. Overpopulation is a very real thing we are dealing with in our society; natural resources are scarce and we as human beings will be responsible for multiple species going extinct in under a decade if we do not change. Being consciously aware of this, What Happened to Monday played a lot like a cautionary tale. Government officials taking it upon themselves to do what they think is right for society is happening, but at what cost? In this film, the answer is killing children and lying to the public about it. The struggles of this film?s world mirrors that of ours today so much so that I could not help but draw parallels.
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in their apartment.
One very positive thing I have to say about this film is how well written it is. Although this film includes a few elements of your standard sci-fi film, it strays quite a bit from the norm and becomes its own story. This film plays out as part sci-fi, noir and mystery in which the heroine is not one person but multiple. I loved the aspect of septuplets solving the mystery of their sister?s disappearance and that the missing sister, aka the femme fatal, has become their downfall. It is a very powerful piece of storytelling that leaves you very conflicted about each character. Speaking of characters, I just want to point out how amazing Noomi Repace is in this. Portraying one character in a film is pretty difficult for most actors and she was asked to portray 7 of them. Although all the siblings look the same in public, in private they dress differently and have their own personalities. This could play as incredibly tacy in the hands of lesser actors but Repace really sells all 7 of these sisters being extreme opposites of one another. While watching this film and how they interact with one another, you really begin to become invested in their relationships and, once sisters start disappearing and dying, you actually feel something about their fates. Willem Defore, although only in this film for about 20 minutes in total, gives a stellar performance as the septuplet?s grandfather. He really dives into the role and sets the groundwork for the undercover lifestyle the girls must live in order to survive. I quite enjoyed the scenes in which he was running drills with them to quickly put their things away if their home were ever raided by the government. Last but not least, Glenn Close gives an incredible performance as the villainess Cayman. She is the epitome of a bad woman thinking she is doing the right thing. The performance she gives, especially her speech at the end, gave me chills. Although she is the unequivocal villain of this film, at least one of them, you still end up feeling a bit of sympathy for her. In a very messed up way, I understand her motivations. Cayman truly believed that depleting the world?s population by killing additional siblings in families, restricting families from having children unless they can prove they can properly care for the child and making people register with the US government to prove you are the only sibling in your family, would save the world. But, this just ended up turning society into a facist regime. Close plays Cayman as a woman whose road to hell was paved with good but misguided intentions. Even at the end when Cayman will be put to death for what she did, she doubles down on the whole thing and maintains that she was the one person who was brave enough to make the tough decisions. This is a very intriguing character and I don?t think anyone but Glenn Close could have played it this well.
Glenn Close as Presidential Candidate Nicolette Cayman.
One last thing I will praise this film for is the ending. After solving the mystery of what happened to Monday, discovering her motivations for throwing her family under the bus and foiling Cayman?s evil plan, the film still leaves us with one burning question: Was uncovering all of this worth it? Was Cayman right after all? The last scene with all of the crying babies and the ominous zoom out on them leaves us with the thought of who will take care of all of those children. Where are the parents and what system will be put in place to provide for them all? Considering the society in this film, if we are heavily overpopulated and people were starving because of it, what could we do to fix it? I was so conflicted at the end of this film that I cannot even bring myself to attempt answering this question. With this being said, I will simply wrap up this review by saying What Happened to Monday is an excellent science fiction film that both follows the formula of the genre and somewhat subverts it all at once. Although this movie gets very real at times, I believe this is one sci-fi action film that deserves to be watched.