Eye For Film >> Movies >> Mondays In The Sun (2002) Film Review
Mondays In The Sun
Reviewed by: The Remote Viewer
This wonderfully bittersweet Spanish film has to go down as one of the best European offerings of recent years.
Three men struggle to find new jobs after the closure of their shipyard in a small Spanish village. Santa (Javier Bardem) is a firebrand ex-strike leader, who is in court for smashing a streetlight. Jose (Luis Tosar) is a drunk whose wife may leave him and Lino (Jose Angel Edigo) is a middle-aged man, desperately trying to remain young.
Writer/director Fernando Leon de Aranoa brilliantly conveys the problems faced by those whose lives have taken a turn for the worse. All these men seem to do is drink in a bar owned by another former shipyard worker. The film's main strength is the quality of the performances, particularly the peerless Bardem, who plays a former rebel, still yearning to cause trouble, while suffering the boredom of the unemployed.
Tosar is terrific as Jose, whose outbursts have ruined his chances of a bank loan and caused his wife to look elsewhere. As for Edigo, he is heartbreaking as Lino, whose attempts to look young - dyeing his hair, learning computer skills - lead to nothing.
Another of the film's great strengths is the eclectic nature of the secondary characters, such as Reina (Enrique Villen), the philosophical owner of the bar where the others congregate, Amador (Celso Bugallo) as the drunk who holds a sad secret and Serguei (Serge Riaboukine), the former Russian astronaut.
The reason Mondays In The Sun is so marvellous is that it empathises with the unemployed and does not try to belittle them, or make them look small. If work is the engine that powers self-esteem, redundancy is the rock in the road. What Aranoa does is pick up that rock and show the teeming life underneath.Reviewed on: 27 May 2005