Mamma Mia: Here We go Again! Movie titles are seldom this honest. As with the first film, expect a karaoke-ready parade of timeless Swedish pop; a plot as flimsy as some of the 70s-inspired fashion; and a love-story set in an idyllic Greek island. The fans can hardly wait.
The sequel comes 10 years after the first Mamma Mia film, which in turn was based on the successful stage musical produced by two of ABBA’s founding members. Most of the original cast have returned.
The story starts off quite simply, with Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) finding out that she is pregnant with Sky’s (Dominic Cooper) child, while running her mother Donna’s (Meryl Streep) hotel on the Greek island of Kalokairi.
As she gets her head around the news, Sophie finds out about how her mother met her dads - Sam, Bill and Harry (Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgárd and Colin Firth) - and how she bonded with her friends, Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters). My favourite part is the introduction of her long-lost and maternal grandmother, Ruby Sheridan (Cher).
Cheesiness abounds, but that doesn’t actually make it a bad film, just a cheesy one. With lots and lots of white people. There are black people in Europe, you know.
Seyfried plays the role of Sophie well - Sophie, who is sweet, but lost in the giant maze of life. There are parts of the film where you will find yourself rooting for her.
On a lighter note, Cher looks fantastic at the age of 72. While I don’t think she’s Oscar material, she does add that thing (think of that meme of Hlaudi Motsoeneng here) to the film.
For me, it was magical that she played the role of Meryl Streep’s mother. Another interesting person in the film is Streep. I’m used to seeing her in intense, serious roles, so seeing her as a happy ghost was rather refreshing.
And, of course, there’s the Abba music. This is one of the few remaining places where you are allowed to sing along to and enjoy the music of Abba. Everywhere else, you run the risk of exposing just how ancient you are. The staging of the musical numbers is surprisingly good.
It doesn’t seem too far-fetched, so watching the cast launch into song every now and again does not get annoying.
The film also tries to add a layer of melancholy to the proceedings to make the story seem more realistic, but the idea doesn’t really pan out. This is too much of a happy-go-lucky film, with picture perfect deep blue seas and crystal clear skies in a dream-like Greek island location. Even the rain seems a little out of place here.
So naturally, to go with your little slice of heaven, the filmmakers have decided to add a thick layer of life lessons, perhaps to cut through all the cheese. Pay them no mind. If you’re there solely for an Abba experience on film, for a fun night out with some of your favourite music, you’re in for a fun time.