A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that What Happened to Monday? is set primarily in 2073 and focuses on an authoritarian, repressive society in which each family is allowed only one child. Noomi Rapace plays seven roles in the tale of a family of septuplets who have been hidden since their birth 30 years earlier. Suspense, jeopardy, and graphic violence are front and center throughout. Once the story gets going, the plot moves from one harrowing scene to another, almost without respite. Characters, including some children, die in horrific ways. The film includes point-blank shootings, machine gun fire, dismemberment, garroting, gassing, explosions, and heroines held in captivity. Expect nudity, oral sex, and sexual acts, and a demeaning attempt at sexual intimidation. Frequent obscenities are heard (e.g., "f--k," "s--t," "bitch"). There's also some drinking, and pot brownies.
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What's the story?
Toward the end of the 21st century, WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY? finds female septuplets in grave danger. They were born at a time when the earth was depleted of its resources and doomed by overpopulation, burgeoning multiple births, and mutations -- and only one child was permitted per family. Under the auspices of CAB (Child Allocation Bureau), headed by scientist Nicolette Cayman (Glenn Close), all other children were to be frozen to await a time in which the earth would be repaired and capable of supporting more life. Only then would they be returned. Resourceful grandfather Terrence Settman (Willem Dafoe) has raised his granddaughters in hiding, named them for the days of the week, schooled them in the art of survival, and prepared them for a life of isolation to save their lives. Aided by new technologies and a remarkable mind, Settman has managed to keep all of the girls safe. Now 30 years old and on their own (each is portrayed by Noomi Rapace), "Monday," "Tuesday," "Wednesday," "Thursday," "Friday," "Saturday," and "Sunday" go out into the world as "Karen" Settman only on their namesake day of the week. Keeping a low profile, they go undetected as part of their large unnamed city's workforce. Frighteningly, Monday, as Karen, goes to work one day and doesn't come home. What follows is a search for Monday by her sisters, missing in a society that must not find them out.
Is it any good?
Noomi Rapace's sharp portrayal of identical septuplets, as well as an inventive and intriguing concept, almost save this dystopian thriller from its cliched villains and some ludicrous plot points. Though each of the seven identical sisters is supposed to be unique (one slutty, one brainy, etc.), they're sketchy at best. Rapace brings as much depth as she can to them in the little time each holds the screen. Starting with a provocative premise, What Happened to Monday? ultimately becomes a violent search-and-destroy mission, with one brutal attack and death after another. (Spoiler alert: A particularly stomach-turning element of the story involves the fate of those who are being frozen to await rebirth at a later date.) Definitely not suitable for kids or those who aren't fans of ruthless evil and gore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in What Happened to Monday? How did you feel during the intense scenes? Why do you think filmmakers opt for brutality and gore? What are they hoping to elicit from their audiences? What is the effect of violence on kids?
Who or what was responsible for the condition of our planet as it was portrayed? What message, if any, do you think the filmmakers were trying to send about human behavior today?
What are "dystopian societies" and "utopian societies"? Why are movies about such civilizations attractive to moviemakers? To audiences?
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