I abba-solutely adored the first Mamma Mia and once did a one-woman rendition of the whole film, much to the bemusement of my poor friends who suffered through it. Despite having inevitably high expectations for the sequel, it did not disappoint. It’s quite clear that it’s not for everyone and also that liking musicals and ABBA makes me bias. However, for anyone who seeks some mindless, enjoyable entertainment with some Super-Trouper tunes, this is a lovely summer film worth a trip to the cinema for.
In Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, we follow Sophie five years on from the first film. She has big plans for rebranding the hotel on Kalokairi Island, where she was raised by her single mother Donna. We follow Sophie in the lead up to the Hotel’s re-opening and also delve into the backstory of how Donna came to discover this island and became mother to a child with three possible fathers.
Most impressive is how its writers, Ol Parker, Catherine Johnson and Richard Curtis, were able to create a fairly believable story line in this sequel which weaves in a wide variety of ABBA’s back catalogue. Much like the first film, you are taken on an emotional yet joyous ride, with scenes that are perfectly punctuated by the Swedish pop group’s well-loved songs. As you would expect some moments are a bit too on the nose, e.g. Amanda Seyfried singing about being lonely in a bed and staring at the ceiling while lying in a bed and staring at the ceiling. Or young Donna singing ‘only a week since we started’ as she reflects on her relationship with Sam which has lasted, a week. But at times, the film packs a real emotional punch, especially true of the My Love, My Life scene which made the tears in my eyes well up much in the same way it did in Slipping Through My Fingers during the first.
I laughed, I cried and was beaming with joy for the most part. If you’re too critical, it’s possible to find multiple flaws. Why didn’t the mother bother to contact any of the possible fathers earlier on? Why does it (spoiler alert) become the Cher Show at the end? But I found myself shrugging off these fleeting concerns by reminding myself it’s just a musical, they can do whatever they want. It’s a whimsical, all-singing and dancing unashamed musical. It’s got the eye-pleasing choreography you would expect during the big dance numbers and by the finale there are some flare-tastic 70s styled costumes. Lily James is sensational and charming as Donna. The lovable Colin Firth delivered some fantastic one-liners that made the cinema swell with laughter. Jessica Keenan Wynn was also brilliantly cast as the Young Christine Baranski, beyond the physical similarities, she perfectly embodies Christine’s personality and spirit.
I predict that for many ardent fans, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, will be one to watch again and again and again.