“What Happened to Monday?” is a thought-provoking Netflix thriller set in a future world that offers a tense story, despite being somewhat predictable.
The film begins in the near future where countries have banded together to combat overpopulation with a one-child rule. Additional siblings who are discovered are put into cryosleep in a lab run by Nicolette Cayman (Glenn Close) and the Child Allocation Bureau (CAB) until the world can support more people.
This is the world inhabited by the Settman girls — seven identical sisters all played by Noomi Rapace. Named after the days of the week, each takes on the shared identity of Karen Settman on the day for which she is named.
Then one week, Monday doesn’t return home from her day as Karen. The sisters begin to untangle the web of their sister’s disappearance and the shady underworld of the CAB.
The premise of the story creates an actor’s dream — playing various roles with the same face. Although the sisters look the same, there are hairstyle and personality quirks that help the audience tell them apart. Friday wears a beanie and is a shy tech expert. Sunday, a platinum blonde, is outgoing and flirtatious. All abandon their individual looks and personalities for their turn as Karen.
Rapace brilliantly balances these characters, accentuating their differences and personalities. It’s easy to tell which sister is which. Rapace also handles the emotional parts of her various characters as well. As the stakes get higher for the sisters, and the dangerous world they are exposing becomes clearer (evident in the violent TV-MA rating the film received), each expresses grief and fear in different ways.
Parts of the plot are well-hidden and keep the audience guessing at every turn. Others are more predictable and obvious, even within the first 20 minutes of the film.
“What Happened to Monday” explores complex themes of family, identity and lines government should and should not cross to protect citizens. It’s fun to watch an actress of Rapace’s ability perform her many roles, which makes “What Happened to Monday” a must-see for anyone who is a fan of the “Orphan Black” series that follows a similar model with one actress playing multiple roles.