What Happened to Monday: A Sci-Fi Thriller on its way to Netflix

Thanks to science, the human lifespan has extended. Unfortunately though, statistics foresee overpopulation as an undesirable condition, where the number of existing people exceeds the carrying capacity of Earth. As a matter of fact an English cleric and demographer had already announced this catastrophe in the eighteenth century: Thomas Robert Malthus. In his 1798 essay on population growth, An Essay on the Principle of Population, he argued that population multiplies geometrically whilst food arithmetically; therefore, whenever the food supply increases, population will rapidly grow to eliminate the abundance.

The dystopian science fiction thriller film, What Happened to Monday (known as Seven Sisters in France), written by Max Botkin and Kerry Williamson and directed by Tommy Wirkola, seems to have taken the Malthusian Catastrophe at heart! The story begins in the year 2043, where measures to fight overpopulation result in a strict one-child policy enforced by the Child Allocation Bureau. When multiple children are born to one mother, all but the eldest are put into “cryosleep.” Karen Settman dies when she gives birth to identical septuplet sisters. They will be raised by their grandfather Terrence, who names them after the days of the week and trains the girls to pose as a single individual named after their mother. Thirty years later, the siblings have learnt how to live in secrecy, leaving the house only on the day of their name, until one of them goes missing.

The film is shot majestically, with Noomi Rapace playing all seven sisters (each with different personalities and postures). Willem Dafoe plays Terrence, and Glenn Close stars in the role of Nicolette Cayman, the politician who came up with the one child program. The thriller is intriguing and gives way to profound reflections discerning the times we are living in. If during Malthus’ times famine, war and disease were simple, effective, and brutal means of reducing population, ever since the industrial-scientific revolution medicine has prevented a congruous amounts of deaths.

The ecological footprint of a human population exceeding the carrying capacity of Earth, is the great concern of our century. Optimists see technology as a resourceful savior to increase the production of food. On the other hand pessimists can argue that the Green Revolution and the use of fossil fuels have been detrimental to all Earthlings and nature. Synthetic fertilizers, hybrid seed, herbicides and pesticides have harmed the environment as well as our bodies. Intensive animal farming has had a tremendous impact on animal welfare, due to confinement and overcrowding of creatures, presenting the risk of contamination of the meat from viruses and bacteria. Not to forget that as the UN News Center had declared in a statement, “Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars,” due to the methane that comes out of their digestive process.

What Happened to Monday explores all of these themes in a captivating narrative, packed with action and political debates, that echo China’s one-child policy. In the real world, that political strategy failed, since the growing population had few children to support aging families, there was an uneven balance between male and female population and there was a variety of undocumented children with no education or statues quo.

Controversy on the demographic overflow hit the Eastern world, as much as the Western part of the globe. Just recently Prince William was criticized by the media because during a speech at a charity gala he warned that overpopulation across the world could have perilous effects for the planet, unless significant actions are taken to reduce mounting pressure on wildlife and rainforests. The Duke of Cambridge’s comments were taken as contradictory to his personal lifestyle, since his wife Kate Middleton is pregnant with the couple’s third child.

Tommy Wirkola’s Seven Sisters give profound meaning to how governments should find a solution for every level of community and adopt egalitarian measures for sustainable development. The film is bound to spread its message, entering the homes of people worldwide, since Netflix bought the streaming rights to the film for the United States and other markets.