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Monogamy (2011)


Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 24
Fresh: 11
Rotten: 13

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 10
Fresh: 5
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 1,089




Movie Info

Increasingly anxious about his impending marriage to Nat (Rashida Jones) and thoroughly bored with his day job as a wedding photographer, Theo (Chris Messina) establishes a hobby: he's hired by clients to clandestinely snap voyeuristic photos of them as they go about their days. Things go smoothly until a sexy exhibitionist (Meital Dohan) leads him into an all-consuming obsession. As Theo stalks her day and night, the woman's mysterious public trysts send him reeling, forcing him to confront … More

Directed By:
Written By:
Dana Adam Shapiro , Evan M. Wiener
In Theaters:
May 17, 2011
Box Office:
Oscilloscope - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Monogamy

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (13) | DVD (1)

The conceit is a decent idea for a thriller, if not a terribly original one, but Shapiro loses the rhythm with a plodding story and a pat ending we can see coming a mile away.

Full Review… | March 31, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Monogamy is a tough little movie. And a good one.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

There are certain filmmakers who should have their Cassavetes card revoked, and on the evidence of "Monogamy,'' Dana Adam Shapiro has joined their ranks.

Full Review… | March 24, 2011
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Shapiro puts his own stamp on voyeur cinema.

Full Review… | March 17, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Despite the ominous feel, this is a mystery about losing or gaining lives and unknown detours.

Full Review… | March 16, 2011
New York Daily News
Top Critic

With modest resources, some nice digital camerawork and an appealing cast -- the likable Ms. Jones draws you in easily -- Mr. Shapiro keeps you engaged even when his story falters.

Full Review… | March 11, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

Monogamy asks us to root for lovers who seem disinterested in their own future.

Full Review… | June 12, 2011
What Would Toto Watch?

I walked away from the film disappointed, but there are some powerful ideas and performances buried somewhere in here, underneath the performance art itches.

Full Review… | May 30, 2011

This indie film about a young couple with various commitment issues is written with a lot of snap, crackle and pop culture cool.

Full Review… | April 1, 2011
Jam! Movies

Jones has little to do besides look fed up, and justifiably so.

Full Review… | April 1, 2011

Despite the pseudo-vérité style, the convincing improvised dialogue, and its intimations of Blow-Up and The Conversation, Monogamy never quite makes a full commitment.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Boston Phoenix

The real star of the film, however, is Shapiro who, despite treading on marginally derivative subject matter, demonstrates a solid sense of style and a refreshingly delicate hand with actors.

Full Review… | March 22, 2011
Boxoffice Magazine

You may just want to forget about any sort of cinematic monogamy and find another movie to see.

Full Review… | March 18, 2011
Back Stage

Demonstrates what you miss in a relationship when you're lost in your own head, and what might not be there when you come back.

Full Review… | March 17, 2011

Music supervisor Bernheim and DP Doug Emmett are able to choreograph the action in conjunction with the music to generate fantastic resonance in the scenes.

Full Review… | March 16, 2011
Monsters and Critics

A bit dirty and scattered, the film fails to offer any payoff for its crawling plot and salacious promises.

Full Review… | March 16, 2011
New York Press

Monogamy is surprising for how well it tackles themes we thought had been fully examined on film.

Full Review… | March 11, 2011

A thoughtful and engrossing character study.

Full Review… | March 11, 2011

Audience Reviews for Monogamy


In "Monogamy," Theo(Chris Messina), a photographer, and Nat(Rashida Jones), a guitarist, may not have much but they have each other.(Theo also plays the piano but has no wish to get up in front an audience like Nat does.) In three and a half months, they will be married, despite his father giving them grief over the lack of money they make. For Theo, that comes from photographing weddings and a side business where he pseudo-surreptitiously takes photos of clients. The latest is Penny(Meital Dohan) who tends to be more revealing than originally imagined.

"Monogamy" gets off to a fine start with its natural performances. It also provides some incisive commentary on all the nonsense and stress that go along with getting married. And then after an improbable plot point, it just runs out of ideas and steam.(Even before this, any scene involving Theo's friends was sucking the oxygen out of the room.) After a while, I was so desperate for any sign of life that I would have happily accepted any cliche you could think of, but no luck there, either. In the end, the movie gets the tone of sexual frustration right while at the same time making the audience extremely frustrated.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Dana Adam Shapiro is best known for the exciting and inspiring documentary, MURDER BALL, for which he received an Academy Award nomination 5 years ago. MONOGAMY is his narrative directorial debut, and was an Independent Spirit Award nominee this year for Best First Screenplay.

Although the film features two very appealing leads in Chris Messina and Rashida Jones, I wish I could report that Shapiro's transition to drama is a triumph, but there's just not a lot going on in this film. Anyone who has ever seen BLOW UP will recognize the story of a photographer who becomes unusually obsessed with his subject. Here, Messina is that photographer who is engaged to Jones and begins to doubt their relationship when he becomes more and more fixated on a woman he's been paid to photograph from afar.

The film is spare, quiet, and told entirely from the point of view of the male gaze. It's all about how Messina's character sees women and questions his own ability to stay true to the woman he's about to marry. Messina holds the screen well, but is given very little to do here except look at a LOT of people and photos.

Jones, does some fine, subtle work here but her character is too conveniently sidelined midway through the film, and never really recovers from it. For a while there, it looked like we were going to participate in her obsessions with men, but it never really comes to pass. I've become such a fan of her work from THE OFFICE, PARKS AND RECREATION, and THE SOCIAL NETWORK. She never overdoes things and always creates credible modern women. One climactic scene in particular, where our leads confront each other, plays out beautifully with the rhythms of how a couple really argues. No big histrionics, just quiet forcefulness.

Like so many unambitious indies of this sort, there's a relentlessly probing handheld camera aesthetic, and quiet moodiness....and little else. There's a little surprise twist late in the game which was ridiculously telegraphed early on, so boo hiss to that!

Some humans mate for life, but my "relationship" with this heartfelt but shallow film pretty much ended as soon as the credits rolled. A forgettable trick if you will.

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

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