ABBA hits take centre stage in sequel

From left: Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried, Julie Walters (Universal Pictures-Jonathan Prime)

It is the music of ABBA that makes Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again – not its storyline or moral tone. Source: ACOFB.

This romantic musical comedy is a sequel to the 2008 film Mamma Mia, which is based on a jukebox musical of the same name and centred on ABBA songs. The story takes up events ten years after the end of the first film.

Donna’s (Meryl Streep) daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), is pregnant with child, (most probably) by her fiancé, Sky (Dominic Cooper), and Sophie is helping to manage a grand reopening of a villa, called Hotel Bella Donna, devoted to her late mother’s memory on the Greek island of Kalokairi. Sophie comes to learn much more than she knew before about her mother’s past, including the time she spent with members of her former musical group, and each one of her possible dads – Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Bill (Stellan Skarsgard), and Harry (Colin Firth). She also has an unexpected visit from her grandmother, Ruby (Cher), who stages her appearance at her theatrical best.

The film spends a lot of time in exploring how previous relationships affect those in the present. Donna had three lovers who might be her father. Sophie has three lovers also, and one of them is the father of her child. Sophie relies heavily on her mother’s old friends – Rosie Mulligan and Tanya Chesham-Leigh (Julie Walters, and Christine Baranski) – to find out what happened when her mother met Sam, Bill, and Harry, years before.

As the movie unfolds, we see a young Streep (Lily James) and an older Streep. Events expand considerably over time, and the frequent use of scene-changing alters one’s expectation of a time-bound “sequel” to the original movie. The film is filled with the music of ABBA, however, and entertains in a thoroughly escapist way by aiming to establish the experience of déjà vu among viewers. It features songs and choreographs famous musical numbers, like “Money, Money, Money”, “Dancing Queen”, “Fernando”, and “Mamma Mia”, and it adds other well known ABBA numbers like “Thank You for the Music”, and “Waterloo”.

The sequel throws morality to the wind. The main message in this film seems to be to go ahead and do whatever in life one feels like doing. The hectic pace which accompanies that message throws viewers straight into finding enjoyment in the film’s catchy tunes and music, which is where the entertainment value of this film basically rests.

– Reviewed by Peter W Sheehan, ACOFB

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: Starring Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Dominic Cooper, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, and Lily James. Also, Cher, and Meryl Streep. Directed by Ol Parker. Rated PG (Mild sexual references). 114 min.


Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (ACOFB)


2018 Film Reviews (ACOFB)

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