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Film / What Happened to Monday

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In a World… 20 Minutes into the Future, where a population explosion threatens the sustainability of the planet, the population is limited to only one child per family in a decision spearheaded by Nicolette Cayman (Glenn Close). The law is strictly enforced; any siblings caught will be forcibly put into cryosleep, to be awoken only when the population abates. Complicating this, crops genetically modified to feed the massive population have also produced a large number of multiples, including those birthed by Karen Settman, who has a litter of seven identical girls. Their grandfather (Willem Dafoe) secretly takes them all in and hatches a plan to keep them safe: after naming each of them after a day in the week, he allows each one to leave their secure apartment on the day of the week they're named after in order to socialize, with all the girls taking on the singular identity of Karen Settman.


Decades pass, and the girls (all played by Noomi Rapace) have all managed to evade suspicion and capture, though some are beginning to grow restless and resentful of being unable to have discrete public lives. Eldest sister Monday admonishes them and reminds them of the importance of keeping up the charade before leaving for her day — only to disappear on her way home from work. As the rest of the sisters work to find her, they find themselves mercilessly hunted down by the brutal Child Allocation Bureau —including agent Adrian Knowles (Marwan Kenzari), who becomes involved with Monday— and the sinister secrets of the C.A.B. begin to come to light.

The film was released by Netflix on August 18, 2017. You can view the trailer here.


What Happened to Tropeday:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Takes place in 2073, where technology is somewhat more advanced, but the population situation much more dire.
  • Action Girl: Wednesday is the best fighter of the group and provides much of the action.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Monday's death and Cayman's political downfall and almost certain subsequent death sentence are treated somewhat somberly, despite the fact they are both terrible people who committed murder to achieve their goals.
  • All for Nothing: Even if Monday had managed to successfully sell out all of her sisters, she is pregnant with twins, and would almost certainly have been forced to give one up to be murdered.
  • Always Identical Twins: The proliferation of genetically modified crops has led to a rise in this. Exaggerated with the Settman sisters, who are septuplets. Of course, to avoid the law, the sisters have to stay looking exactly the same physically when in public to keep up the charade, which means they have to share every detail about what happened during their day and match the physical condition they were last seen in — including the loss of the same fingertip.
  • Awful Truth: Siblings are not put into cryosleep by the C.A.B. They are incinerated instead.
  • Babies Ever After: The children of Adrian and the late Monday are seen being raised in an artificial womb.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Sunday is the youngest, and an idealistic dreamer. Which makes her death that much more devastating for the rest of the sisters.
  • Bed Trick: Saturday pulls one on Adrian unintentionally, as she didn't know he was seeing Monday but realizes that sleeping with him is the best way to hack into the C.A.B. when he's distracted. It also turns out to be her first time.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Cayman sets herself up to be a crusading, do-good politician, but is secretly assuring that the siblings who come in to be put to cryosleep are all destroyed.
    • Monday, the eldest and most responsible of the sisters, is secretly plotting to kill the rest of them.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tuesday and Thursday are free to live their lives in public, and the unborn children of Monday and Adrian are growing in an artificial womb. Cayman is also arrested and facing the death penalty. However, five of the sisters are dead, the one-child policy is dismantled, and humanity has no solution to save itself from overpopulation. The film ends with a shot on row after row of multi-decker infant cribs.
  • Blatant Lies: Cayman's claims to others (and herself) that the murdered siblings "did not suffer." All the painkillers and sedatives in the world are not going to make burning alive pleasant.
  • Bondage Is Bad: The one antagonistic sister also happens to be into erotic asphyxiation.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Poor Jerry gets a particularly messy one. Wednesday and Saturday die this way as well.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass:
    • Tuesday's eye is cut out by the C.A.B. agents so they can get past the retinal scanner on the apartment.
    • C.A.B. agents use fingerprint-locked guns. Wednesday ends up amputating the finger of one agent to use his machine gun on the others.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: One of the sisters pushes a goon out in front of her just as his buddy fires, and it works (at close range with a machine gun, too).
  • Celibate Hero: The sisters are all forced to engage in only one-night stands, as they won't be able to keep up a romantic relationship. Until they discover that Monday was secretly dating Adrian.
  • The Cutie: Saturday is the sweetest, most feminine, and most cheerful of the sisters.
  • Dating Catwoman: The sisters discover that Monday was dating Adrian, a C.A.B. agent who guards a checkpoint by their building.
  • Dead Guy Junior: "Karen Settman" was their mother. At the end of the movie, not only does Thursday officially rename herself Karen, Tuesday becomes "Terry" after their grandfather Terrence.
  • Death by Childbirth: The first Karen Settman dies this way, making her a Missing Mom.
  • Death Glare: A Wednesday trademark.
  • Defiant to the End: Hanging off of a rooftop and having just been shot doesn't stop Wednesday from giving one last Death Glare to the enemy before being shot in the head.
  • Disappeared Dad: Terrence notes that the father of his daughter Karen's children is unknown, and it remains that way throughout the story, with Terrence instead acting as a father figure to them all.
  • Disappointed in You: Thursday says as much to Monday, and cannot even tell her about Friday's Heroic Sacrifice because she is clearly contrasting it with Monday selling them all out.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Nicolette Cayman is a self-deluding demagogue who calls common people like Terrance 'cruel' and 'selfish' for being unwilling to make deep personal sacrifices for the greater good of the collective while arguably being unwilling to make such sacrifices herself. (She has used her one child policy to rise to political prominence and clearly lives very well, despite the fact that it is said policy is literally one of mass-murder)
  • Double-Meaning Title: There's the question of what physically happened to Monday when she vanishes on her way home from work. And something deeper — that she was secretly sick of sharing her identity, resentful of her siblings, and eager to become Karen Settman for good.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The sisters' doorman is teased as an important character, with his interest in Jazz poetry and astute observations about the sisters' small mistakes in continuity. However, he's off-handedly killed before the first action sequence.
  • The Dutiful Son: Monday is the eldest and the most committed to the Karen Settman charade. She's also been secretly resenting her younger sisters for not being as responsible as her, especially Thursday, who forced them all to be mutilated.
  • Dwindling Party: Monday vanishes first, and Tuesday is captured and presumably killed when going out to look for her. Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday are killed one by one by the C.A.B., and Friday sacrifices herself to save Thursday. Monday and Tuesday are revealed to both be alive, but Monday is killed by a C.A.B. agent.
  • Dystopian Edict: Only one child is allowed per family, and any secret siblings will be forcibly taken from their families and put into cryosleep until the population problem is dealt with. Which is the official line. In truth, they're killed immediately.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: All those siblings advertised as being put into cryosleep until the population goes down? They're being incinerated.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Cayman gives a speech at the end, as she's facing the death penalty for being essentially a mass-murderer mostly of children, that her actions were necessary to ensure the survival of the human species and, now that her one child policy has been repealed and the Child Allocation Bureau abolished, there is little hope of solving the overpopulation crisis before humans ultimately destroy themselves. While arguably treated as a Villain Has a Point moment, it also displays that Cayman cannot comprehend that, if that is what it takes to be saved, then plenty of people won't want to be saved. Glenn Close actually mentioned it in an interview, explaining that her character holds high ideals but displays a complete lack of empathy and feeling for the children.
  • Eye Scream: Tuesday's eye is ripped out and used by C.A.B. to enter the apartment.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Both Saturday and Friday say "I love you" to the rest of the sisters before they die, the former by enemy bullets and the latter by Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Fainting: Cayman does this when the footage of the incinerator is released at her campaign announcement, but she recovers quickly.
  • Fingore:
    • As a child, Thursday sneaks out to skateboard and ends up tearing one of her fingers off at the first joint. If the graphic close-up weren't enough, Terrence sadly reminds the rest of the girls that they all have to resemble each other exactly, and is forced to cut the same finger off of all the sisters, and we see him do so to Monday.
    • Later on, Wednesday cuts the finger off a C.A.B. operative and sticks it to her stump in order to be able to use his fingerprint-locked gun.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Monday's hidden pregnancy is first hinted at when she finds herself inexplicably puking before going to work.
    • Another less subtle hint is when she tells Thursday that she betrayed her sisters for her family, while moving her hand slightly toward her belly.
    • She's also chided by her sisters at eating the GMO food whose side effect is increased multiple births. At the end, she's shown to have conceived twins, who are now being gestated artificially.
    • When it is said that if they are caught, all of the Settman girls will be put into cryostasis indefinitely, Friday notes that only six of them would be and that one would be allowed to remain free. This is pretty much Monday's entire motive for selling her sisters out.
    • Cayman mentions having had a dream where the whole C.A.B. building caught fire, killing the children held within. This is how they dispose of the surnumerary children, possibly after a lethal injection.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Terrance is one and it is clear that this is a trait Friday inherited from him.
  • Girly Girl: Saturday is by far the most feminine of the sisters and has the most changed hairstyle of them all.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: To fight the effects of overpopulation, genetically modified crops are created to produce enough food for everyone. Said crops turn out to have the unfortunate side effect of causing even more overpopulation by way of dramatically increasing the likelihood of multiple births.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Friday blows up the apartment to give Thursday time to flee.
  • Hypocrite: Monday scolds the sisters for wanting lives and relationships of their own, all while scheming to get rid of them to be the only Karen Settman, and also while secretly enjoying a relationship with Adrian, whom she's also pregnant by.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Cayman is clearly not okay with the whole child mass murder thing, even admits to having nightmares about it, and focuses on the doctor's assurance that it's a painless procedure as her way to keep her mental balance. But it does work, and so she has to keep it going.
  • It's All About Me: Monday wants to be able to raise her family in peace with Adrian and will sell her sisters out to do it. It doesn’t matter who gets hurt if she gets what if she wants in the end.
  • Kick the Dog: Monday calling her sisters 'afterbirth' right after Thursday describes how four of them died because of her betrayal. This is notably the exact point in the conversation Thursday attacks her even though Monday has her at gunpoint.
  • Kill It with Fire: The surplus siblings are disposed of via incineration.
  • Kill the Cutie: Saturday is killed after doing reconnaissance on Adrian.
  • Lack of Empathy: The nurse who burns a child alive displays absolutely no emotional reaction to it whatsoever. It's just standard procedure.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Thursday shoves a nurse into one of the cryosleep pods which burns her alive just like her countless victims, but unlike the murdered siblings, she's awake and knows exactly what's going to happen.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Monday falling in love and getting impregnated by Adrian kicks off the entire plot. She wants to become the real Karen to settle down and raise her kids... which unfortunately involves selling out her sisters.
  • Made of Iron: When Friday blows up the sisters' apartment, Cayman's Dragon, Joe, is standing outside the front door and is hurled backwards by the massive explosion — but we see him alive and seemingly none the worse for wear a few scenes later.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Genetically modified crops have made having multiples much more common. The Settmans take it up to eleven with seven sisters.
  • Meaningful Name: The "Sett" in "Settman" is pronounced the same way as sept, which is the French word for, you guessed it, seven. It is also similar to the Italian word "settimana", meaning "week".
  • Meaningful Rename: At the end of the film, Thursday, who voiced the most complaints about having to be Karen Settman, ends up choosing "Karen" as her name.
  • Mood Whiplash: Wednesday's epic jump across rooftops, as advertised in the trailers, is a fist-pumping, celebratory moment. Only for her to get shot halfway through the jump and then get immediately shot in the head as she clings defenselessly to the edge of the opposite roof.
  • Motive Rant: Cayman does a minor one when she's first found out, repeating that the children didn't suffer, then a more composed one when she's interviewed just before her trial, showing no remorse for her actions and lamenting the lost opportunity to build a better world.
  • Murder by Cremation: One of the doctors responsible for incinerating the extraneous siblings instead of putting them into cryosleep as is the propaganda is thrown into an incinerator during a fight. The incineration sequence starts and she can't get out in time.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: One of Monday's reasons for trying to get rid of her sisters is that she became pregnant by Adrian, something none of the rest of the sisters know. Knowing, of course, that the charade won't work if just one of the sisters is pregnant...
  • Never Found the Body: Monday and Tuesday are arrested, but their deaths aren't shown on-screen apart from the latter's eyeball being used. Both turn out to be alive.
  • Never My Fault: Monday claims to Thursday she is entitled to be Karen Settman because she is the firstborn, and never really verbally owns up to the fact that the situation that lead her to sell out her siblings is entirely her own fault.
  • Nice Guy: Adrian genuinely loves Monday, and it's clear he would do anything for her.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The sisters were raised in isolation for the formative years of their life with only Terrence to raise them, yet when grown into adults, they all have Noomi Rapace's native Swedish accent, which is much different from Willem Dafoe's.
  • One-Woman Wail: Sunday watches a young girl get dragged away from her mother for being a sibling, leaving the mother to cry in agony at her daughter's capture.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The sisters realize something's wrong when Monday doesn't return home for their meeting, which she's never late for.
  • Police State: There is a daily presence of guards trying to detect any second or third children in a nation that has adopted a one-child policy, promising to cryogenically freeze any children in hopes that a future world will have less population. They don't.
  • Population Control: The future EU strictly enforces a strict one-child policy, with second siblings forbidden and any found placed in cryo-sleep to be woken when the population decreases. At least officially. In reality, they're killed.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Monday, after being shot by Thursday, tries to shoot at Cayman but gets a second, fatal wound from a C.A.B. agent instead.
  • The Reveal: Twice; first when revealing that siblings are being drugged and burned instead of being put into cryosleep, and again when we find out that Monday wasn't "caught," but instead paid for Cayman to quietly get rid of the other sisters so that she can assume the identity of Karen Settman forever and raise her children in peace.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • When Cayman captures Tuesday, Tuesday pleads that she works at a bank and can give her a large bribe. Cayman says her that "the last one" (Monday) said the same thing. She did, but in a different context: Monday offered her money to get rid of the other sisters for her.
    • Adrian coming on to Tuesday at the checkpoint initially makes him come across as an overly aggressive creep. When you find out he's actually in a rough sex relationship with Monday and he thinks Tuesday is her, it makes a lot more sense.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The youngest, kindest sister, Sunday, is the first of the sisters to die to prove how serious the situation is.
  • Shout-Out: The doorman quotes Langston Hughes' poem "Harlem." (What happens to a dream deferred?)
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: All the Settman sisters have contrasting personalities. Monday is composed and responsible with a secret bad girl side, and wears the 'Karen' mask the best. Tuesday is a stoner who is easily flustered, Wednesday is a hot tempered bodybuilder, Thursday is a tomboy and contrarian, Friday is the smartest and a bit of a shut-in, Saturday is girly and artsy, and Sunday is elegant and a dreamer.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Cayman's campaign speech has shades of this, as she wants to limit the right to have children to those who can guarantee the ability to provide a safe financial and emotional environment for that child.
  • The Smart Guy: Friday is the most tech-savvy of the sisters and ensures their Karen Settman identity is sound.
  • Soft Glass: Wednesday hurls herself out a window to escape, coming away with nary a scratch.
  • Stepford Smiler: Monday admonishes Thursday for wanting a life of her own and emphasizes how important the Karen Settman charade is — all while secretly resenting the sisters and wanting to take the identity for her own.
  • The Stoner: Tuesday is occasionally seen smoking pot in the first act.
  • Synchronization: Played with. The girls all have seven distinct personalities, but Karen Settman the alias can only have one (mostly consistent) personality, and some girls correlate to it better than others. It's noted that Monday, Sunday, and even Friday are better at wearing the mask while Thursday, Tuesday, and Saturday struggle more to conform.
  • Title Drop: Said by Thursday to a very much alive Tuesday.
  • Trash Landing: Subverted. Wednesday attempts this and ends up landing in an empty dumpster. Turns out trash day is Wednesday.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Cayman takes the population crisis very seriously. What's killing off countless children when it means sustainability can be maintained?
  • Vasquez Always Dies: ZigZagged. Though Thursday and Wednesday are both tomboys, the tougher Action Girl Wednesday dies while Thursday lives, though Girly Girl Saturday is killed off too.
  • Waif-Fu: None of the sisters are physically imposing, yet they manage to take out quite a few Bureau agents.
  • Walking Spoiler: As we don't know what really happened to Monday until the end, her being not only alive but an antagonist qualifies as this.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: We don't get much characterization of Sunday before she's killed in the apartment brawl.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Cayman has a point in banning siblings considering there was no way the world could hold the massive population growth suffered. Killing the siblings instead of freezing them in cryosleep as promised, however...
  • Wham Line:
    • "Last night, I had a dream this whole building erupted and spewed out all the siblings. There were so many of them. A sea of little bodies, scorched by flames..."
    • "I told you, I want to be with you every day, not just Monday."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: One can guess that Terrence eventually died of old age, but we just stop seeing or hearing of him when the film shifts to the sisters as adults.